The oft-cited three Rs of reduce, reuse, and recycle overlook an important fourth possibility: repair. First Place Plastic Welding of Green Valley repairs a variety of plastic items that otherwise might be tossed in the garbage or recycle bin.
“If it’s made of thermoplastic, I can fix it,” says owner George Clarke. Clarke, who operates First Place with his son, Leo, has been repairing plastics for over 30 years. People often replace broken plastic items, Clarke says, not realizing they can be repaired with less expense.
Plastic welding is similar in principle to TIG or acetylene welding. Using high temperatures and a plastic rod, Clarke repairs cracks in plastic components, or splices in larger pieces to repair holes.
“Once a piece is welded, it’s as structurally sound as it was before being damaged,” says Clarke. Unlike a crack repaired with adhesive, for example, a welded piece is unlikely to crack in the repaired area.
Clarke started out in the automotive bumper-repair industry, back when bumpers were 95% chrome. As bumper construction incorporated more and more plastic, Clarke acquired the skills needed to repair the plastic components. Clarke is largely self-taught, but is I-CAR certified.
Plastic is ubiquitous today, and Clarke’s repair jobs include tractor and RV components, kayaks, motorcycles, and snowmobiles. Even household items like patio furniture, lawn tractors, vacuum cleaners, and refrigerators and dishwashers have components that Clarke can repair.
“The most unique repair job I had was a goalie mask,” says Clarke, who has also repaired a lacrosse stick and a water gun for clients who couldn’t part with their favourite items.
First Place does on-site repairs for large items like playground structures, industrial totes, and RVs. Smaller, portable items are repaired at its Green Valley location.
The Clarkes opened up First Place’s Green Valley location three years ago, after moving here from BC. Originally from the Longeuil area, Clarke and his family spent decades living in BC before deciding to move back east. Clarke still operates First Place’s original location in Maple Ridge BC.
“The main difference in Ontario is that we’re doing a lot more agricultural items,” says Clarke. In addition to tractor and heavy equipment components, Clarke repairs chicken trays, holding tanks, and ATVs.
First Place Plastic Welding and Repair is located at 20770 Concession Road 5 in Green Valley. Contact them at 613-930-5995 or www.plasticwelding.webs.com.