Nova Scotia

Lewis Mouldings to expand for 2nd straight year — thanks to its waste

A company in Weymouth, N.S., is planning to expand for the second year in a row to keep up with demand for its home-heating product made from waste wood.

Weymouth wood-products company turns its trash into a home-heating product

A worker bags Fiber Fuel bricks at Lewis Mouldings in Weymouth, N.S. The home-heating alternative is popular enough that the company is expanding for the second straight year. (Pam Berman/CBC)

A company in Weymouth, N.S., is planning to expand for the second year in a row to keep up with demand for its home-heating product made from waste wood. 

Lewis Mouldings creates trim, made from Eastern white pine, for the housing market.

It used to sell the leftover sawdust and wood chips to paper-making mills. As those mills shut down, Lewis Moulding decided it had to come up with another plan. 

Without waste, no 'long-term future'

"The mouldings are profitable, but if we didn't sell our waste there wouldn't be a long-term future."  said Mark Wheatley, the sales manager for Lewis Mouldings.

"We wanted to take our future into our own hands as far as dealing with our waste."

The company employees about 75 people. (Pam Berman/CBC)

So the company started making a product called Fiber Fuel.

Plans to expand

Two tonnes of wood waste is needed to create one tonne of the .9 kg compressed bricks, which can be used as an alternative to firewood used for home heating.

Last year's expansion saw the company buy a biomass dryer and a second compression machine. These "brickers" compact the wood waste under 10,000 tonnes of pressure.

Over the next year, the company is planning to buy a third bricker and a packaging system. 

Officials with Lewis Mouldings say there are a few reasons for the double digit growth, even during last winter's mild weather.

Firewood 'harder to get'

"[Firewood] is getting harder to get and people who have always burned wood are older — with this product you don't have to split and stack it"  said Wheatley.

Lewis Mouldings is the only company in Nova Scotia that sells this type of product on a large scale.

It's available throughout the Maritimes and is moving into the New England market.

About 75 people work at Lewis Mouldings making both the trim and the Fiber Fuel products.