Molok opens first manufacturing plant

Consumers today want better ways to deal with garbage and a Mount Forest company is pushing ahead with an innovative way to handle waste.

Molok North America Ltd. President Marja Hillis held her company’s first factory grand opening here May 29, where the Molok waste systems will be built and distributed to Canada and the United States.

“Molok is the new generation of waste collection,” Hillis’ father and inventor of the system Veikko Salli told the audience at the opening of 39,000 square foot  facility in the north end of town’s industrial park.

It’s a philosophy Hillis shares with her father, who started experimenting with new ways of handling garbage in Finland in the mid-1980s that would eventually lead to the creation of his system.

It was Hillis who brought the company to Canada where it was incorporated about 12 years ago and has been laying the groundwork for its first full-fledged manufacturing  facility. Previously, the company rented space to assemble and sell Molok systems.

The system is a cylindrical design about one-and-half meters across and about two-and-a-half meters or slightly higher. When installed only 40 per cent of the container is visible above ground. The below-ground container can handle more waste and fewer pick-ups than traditional disposal methods by compacting garbage.

The waste is kept cooler with less odors because of the system. Waste is contained in an internal bag that is lifted and emptied for collection.

Molok containers being used by restaurants store unwanted oil and that waste product is pumped out. Each is fitted with special lids that are secure and easily accessible.

The system can handle all garbage types, compostable material such as cooking oil, regular garbage and recyclables.

The company has adapted one of its systems to fit a businesses’s need for outdoor storage space in a confined area.

The company has agreements with Waste Management of Canada to contract pick ups and will reach similar arrangements with waste service companies operating in other jurisdictions where Molok customers are living.

What is more important about the Molok system, according to Hillis and Salli, is parts for the system are high quality, durable and made of recyclable materials.

“Everything is 100 percent recyclable,” Hillis said of the system. “Nothing goes to the landfill.”

Many of the parts are imported, but Hillis eventually wants to find companies here to provide parts.

Production manager Andy Aitken said the company plans to build and ship at least 1,000 Moloks.

Hillis said her vision is to grow the company in Mount Forest and eventually south of the border as the U.S. Market for the system grows.

She would like to expand manufacturing space up to 140,000 square feet here.

“When it’s all done we’re planning on servicing Ontario and when it makes sense, all of Canada,” she said of the company’s potential.

That optimism is based on increasing public awareness of the environment and preserving and keeping it healthy.

As part of the grand opening ceremonies the company invited some 450 local school children to the facility. They were entertained by a band who played on recycled equipment such as garbage lids and empty water bottles.

The company employs 14 people, a doubling of its workforce in the past 18 months.

West Grey Mayor Kevin Eccles, in whose municipality the plant is located on the boundary with Wellington North, and Mayor Ray Tout offered congratulations.

Eccles said the company’s product will help reduce waste and ongoing development of its product line will keep it a strong contender in the marketplace.

“It shows the difference of what you can do with garbage,” Eccles said. “It’s developed right here in our community.”

Hillis said the word Molok, translated, “means a bottomless pit.” She’s predicting it will mean a strong future for the company.