Way back in 1893, Canada’s 6th Governor General, Frederick Arthur Stanley, Lord Stanley of Preston, donated to hockey one of Canada’s most beloved icons, the Stanley Cup. In that same year, German entrepreneur Ernst Ferdinand Walter registered a new enterprise, E.F. Walter and Co., in Montreal after purchasing the business from the estate of his former employer. Now, 119 years later, hockey’s Holy Grail tours the country, and the E.F. Walter organization, born in the 19th century, thrives and evolves to meet the environmental challenges of the 21st century.
During the war years of 1939-1945, E.F. Walter filled the needs of manufacturers supporting Canada’s war effort. Now the war is all about waste and how to re-purpose it into new products for an ever-widening array of applications. In the 1960’s E.F. Walter opened its Toronto facility and diversified into rubbers, plastics, nonwovens and cork. Free trade in the 1980s opened new horizons with European markets, coming on strong in the 90s. Water-jet technology changed the game and provided a high-tech edge on new products as the millennium rolled in.
E.F. Walter’s product portfolio currently comprises foot comfort and shoe care products, construction, packaging and OEM products.
The newest of E.F. Walter’s innovative lines is an environmentally-versatile product called ThermaGreen, a composite of 100 per cent post-industrial, cross-linked and closed-cell polyethylene foam.
Foam is the bane of landfills due to its light weight, high volume, and inability to compact. Today, ThermaGreen is turning that problematic waste into synthetic turf, playground underlay, green rooftops, aquatic landscape features and floating covers.
ThermaGreen is ideal as a permeable floating cover to control odour in animal waste lagoons, retention ponds and storage tanks. The cover is placed on the water to create a physical barrier between the liquid surface and the atmosphere. The engineered foam permits rainfall to easily penetrate while preventing volatile chemical compounds (in the forms of gas) to be released into the environment.
For landfill capping, ThermaGreen acts as a geosynthetic material that offers permeability and transmissivity of liquids and gas, and it’s a fully recycled product.
ThermaGreen has another application as a drainage board that provides relief from hydrostatic pressure and drainage as a backfill material for tunnels of all types — wildlife, auto, pedestrian, oil and water. The boards are also used in waterproofing basements and foundation walls, supplying protection from the backfilling operation with the added benefit of insulating below grade living space.
As a drainage material for green roofs, ThermaGreen once again proves to be an excellent solution, providing not only the drainage but the insulating properties, keeping buildings cool in the summer and reducing heating costs in the winter. Green roofs protect roofing membranes from extreme temperature fluctuations and will double the life span of a conventional roof.
The array of environmental challenges that can be addressed by this recycled product continues to grow, so when you are next visiting the Ottawa Courthouse or Carrot Common (Toronto), the Eco Island at the Brickworks, Lamport Stadium, your local playground or sewage lagoon, remember that the recycling innovators at E.F. Walter played a key role in making all those installations more environmentally sustainable.
Diane Blackburn is the Events Manager for the Recycling
Council of Ontario (RCO), which produces the RCO’s annual Waste Minimization Awards, for which E.F. Walter was a finalist.
Contact Diane at email@example.com