Mexican company finds solution to waste problem

Allison Jackson
PLASTICS NEWS

Published: January 10, 2014 12:30 pm ET
Updated: January 10, 2014 12:39 pm ET

Image By: Plastics News photo by Bernardo De Niz Kuadro Ecological Solutions workers prepare recycled plastic waste for a second life as a plastic board.

Related to this story

Topics Construction, Sustainability, Recycling

An enterprising company in Mexico has come up with a unique solution to the country's growing problem of plastic waste.

Kuadro Ecological Solutions SA de CV is turning soda bottles, car parts, water pipes and shopping bags into one-inch thick panels which can substitute for wood, steel and concrete in the construction of houses, schools, fences and dog kennels.

"We want to give this plastic [waste] a destination," said Ramon Martin Espinosa, commercial director of the 25-year-old company. "It's great because we are using a plastic product that is a problem and converting it into a solution."

Every month, 160 metric tons of plastic waste is trucked in from recycling collection centers all over the country to Kuadro's factory on the outskirts of Guadalajara, in the western state of Jalisco, located appoximately 320 miles from Mexico City.

A team of workers sorts the mountain of plastic into piles according to the type of material, such as PET, polyethylene and polypropylene, so they can be mixed together in specific quantities to create long-lasting boards.

Inside the factory, which operates 24-hours a day, five days a week, the plastic waste is shredded, then packed into steel trays, which are then baked in gas-fired ovens.

The result is a board measuring 1.2 meters by 2.44 meters made entirely out of recycled plastic.

To keep up with growing demand for the boards, the company has increased production capacity by 200 percent in the past 12 months and it is now churning out 2,000 boards a month, Espinosa said.

The plastic products are competitively priced. A house made entirely from plastic boards, for example, is about 35 percent cheaper than one made from conventional material, Espinosa said.

Kuadro believes its products are helping to resolve a growing problem of plastic waste in Mexico, where just 15 percent of plastics are recycled, according the National Plastic Industry Association.

In that same vein, Kuadro is also keen to ensure its factory is as green as possible.

The company is overhauling its energy-intensive production process to make it more environmentally friendly. In the past year, it has converted the nine ovens to a gas fire, rather than electricity.

It is currently testing a combination of hydrogen and gas in one of the ovens, which has proven to be 22 to 27 percent more energy efficient.

"For each 10 liters of gas that we normally use, we are now using 7.5 liters," Espinosa explained.

Eventually, the company wants all the ovens running on hydrogen gas at night and solar power during the day.

Kuadro sells a range of products made from plastic, including dog kennels, flower pots, pallets and mail boxes, but its biggest selling items are plastic fences and posts, particularly in the south of Mexico where the hot, humid climate shortens the lifespan of wood, cement and steel.

Bigger plans are afoot, however. Espinosa said the company is holding talks with the Mexican government about projects to build low-cost housing, schools and highway guideposts across the country using its plastic boards.

He is confident Kuadro's proposals will soon see the light of day.

"It's a new system and it is hard to break those old ideas," he said.

"Fortunately the new government is more open to new ideas and we have more chances of this being a success in a short time."


Comments

Mexican company finds solution to waste problem

Allison Jackson
PLASTICS NEWS

Published: January 10, 2014 12:30 pm ET
Updated: January 10, 2014 12:39 pm ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Corbion Purac collaboration taking bioplastics into even more uses

October 17, 2014 6:00 am ET

Corbion Purac NV's collaboration with Taiwan-headquartered compounder Supla Co. Ltd. and Taiwan electronics producer Kuender & Co. is paying...    More

Image

Momentive gearing up for some timely LSR sales

October 17, 2014 10:58 am ET

Momentive Performance Materials Inc. has plenty of time for customers at Fakuma — thanks to colorful new watchbands made with the firm's fiber-...    More

Image

Metabolix closing Germany operations

October 16, 2014 2:28 pm ET

Bioplastics maker Metabolix Inc. will end business operations in Germany at the end of 2014, according to documents the company filed with the U.S....    More

Image

New Amcor, Method project taking sustainability to a platinum level

October 16, 2014 11:28 am ET

Amcor Rigid Plastics will have a bottle production operation within a factory which is aiming to be the world's first LEED platinum certified...    More

Image

Plastics News Now: Humanoid robot shows off skills at Fakuma

October 16, 2014 7:07 am ET

A workerbot, with a smile on its face, was a big attraction at Fakuma this week, plus a mostly composite helicopter takes flight and SPI is looking fo...    More

Market Reports

Plastics Recycling Trends in North America

This report is a review and analysis of the North American Plastics Recycling Industry, including key trends and statistics based on 2013 performance. We examine market environment factors, regulatory issues, industry challenges, key drivers and emerging trends in post-consumer and post-industrial recycling.

Learn more

Plastics in Mexico - State of the Industry Report

This report analyzes the $20 million dollar plastics industry in Mexico including sales of machinery & equipment, resins and finished products.

Our analysts provide insight on business trends, foreign investment, top end markets and plastics processing activity. The report also provides important data on exports, production, employment and value of plastics products manufactured.

Learn more

Plastics Caps & Closures Market Report

The annual recap of top trends and future outlook for the plastics caps & closures market features interviews with industry thought leaders and Bill Wood’s economic forecast of trends in growing end markets. You will also gain insight on trends in caps design, materials, machinery, molds & tooling and reviews of mergers & acquisitions.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

June 2, 2015 - June 3, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - Chicago 2015

September 16, 2015 - September 18, 2015Plastics Caps & Closures - September 2015

More Events