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  • Writer's pictureLorna Hamilton

Upcycling Grain Bags To Plastic Posts

A slice of the plastic post that is made by Danny Farkash at Noralta Farms. The line is where they had it in a vice trying to break it.

Danny Farkash stands holding a plastic post similar to the one he makes.

The recycling machine Danny Farkash uses to turn plastic grain bags into plastic post. Photo Lorna Hamilton

Local farmer and owner of Noralta Farms Danny Farkash has developed a one of a kind recycling machine that melts old grain bags to liquid plastic and in turn is molded into plastic posts, making it an environmentally friendly product.

The machine itself is made completely from scrap material that could have possibly ended up in landfills and is unique to look at.

“Everything is made out of scrap material. We used an old antique tractor to run the shredder for shredding the grain bags, the incinerator is an old anhydrous ammonia tank and the pipe is old scrap oil pipes, etc.” explained Farkash.

Farkash went on to explain in detail how the machine itself runs (you have to see it to understand the process) and the products they can burn in the incinerator to produce the 500-degree heat needed to turn the old grain bags into liquid plastic.

“So how this works is we have an old antique tractor that we use to run the shredder, this shredder that we built is modified so the grain bags go through it and when they hit it there are blades that chop it all up and blow it up into the bin. When it blows up in the bin all the dirty parts like the dirty dirt and straw and whatever blows out through the top and falls in and then goes inside this extruder. The extruder is one that we designed and built in a telescope and it churns it into this big incinerator and when it goes up into the incinerator it screws it into a pipe that runs completely through the top of the incinerator, so the plastic runs through that pipe. We put scrap wood pallets in and it heats it to 500 degrees and it works like a woodstove, it smolders it, the chimneys are off to the side so it has to burn twice before it comes out and it makes it very efficient. When it (the liquid plastic) comes out the other end it goes into one of the molds which has a small hole at the end and when the liquid plastic comes out the hole we know it is full, then we telescope it out and we put on the next one, it (the mold) goes under the water to cool it off and while one is being loaded another one is being unloaded. This pipe has air pressure on it and it fits on the end of the hose blows it out and catches it and keeps it straight. The cooled plastic posts are extracted,” explained Farkash. He went on to say that they can burn cooking oil, old rubber tires etc to make the 500-degree heat used to melt the shredded grain bags. ”and what’s really cool is it burns so clean that at the end of the day we have no more than a coffee can of ash. This is a one of a kind in the world. The other ones use electricity to make it, they use fossil fuels, they use all kinds of things, they have to use fossil fuels to heat it. To heat up that plastic to 500 degrees using fossil fuels makes it virtually unavailable like nobody could afford it. You could make posts but they would be too expensive, people couldn’t afford to buy them.”

According to Farkash, the plastic post they make are extremely environmentally friendly as the post can last a lifetime unlike the current wooden post which has to be replaced frequently. “The post we make come out black and they are so hard you can’t break them. We had it in a vice trying to break it and we couldn’t do it, when we did finally break one it is almost like fiberglass, it’s a different kind of plastic.” commented Farkash. “It seems harder than a fir wood, we can pound a staple in it and the staple you have to get it straight when it goes in there, but with wood when it gets wet it shrinks and then the staple comes out and so these plastic posts don’t do that because water doesn’t affect it. You can saw this material with a hand saw, you can saw it with a wood saw, you can saw it with a chainsaw everything you would do with a wood one but it’s plastic, the consumer doesn’t have to change anything, the only difference is these posts will last forever.”

Farkash also says that the counties have acres of grain bags with no place to go, like a mountain of tires, and said that 37 to 38 counties have bags all over the place that they don’t know what to do with them.

“The counties have been shipping them into the States and have to pay the trucking to do that, to get rid of it and there is an environmental fee they have on the plastic so they do get paid for that end of it. I would just like to recycle it here locally, why not? If we can put money in our economy here and do whatever,” said Farkash. He also went on to say that, “we are taking a product they are burying and they don’t know what to do with and we are reusing it to refine it into something that people can use. Waste product to refine waste products and I think that has got to be the next phase.”

Farkash says that he has no engineering background but that he builds a lot of stuff and that he is really into recycling and that he utilizes items that people would throw away.

“I think we need a whole new generation that can think outside the box, if they can it will change the world like Henry Ford did.

I think it’s really cool in a small town with the farm sector doing whatever and everyone is worried about COVID that we could utilize stuff that people throw away. I think right now the brightest future in industry is recycling stuff, when you think about it that we can take wood pallets and cooking oil that is burnable and I use it as energy to recycle and make plastic posts,” said Farkash.

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