A few weeks ago, Tomás Unger told in this section how the rise of plastics “contributed to the advancement of inventions and materials in all scientific and technological areas, including biomedical”, allowing extraordinary advances in telecommunications, construction, clothing and transportation.
But also mentioned how since the 1960s, the presence of indestructible garbage on roads, sidewalks, rivers and beaches became increasingly noticeable. Next, we will learn about the initiatives of some companies, not only to recover the material but also to reuse it.
less raw material
Peruana de Modelados (Pamolsa) has, since 2013, Recicloplas, a manufacturing plant recycling of PET that, to date, has generated more than 30,000 tons of post-consumer recycled material. This allows the brand’s entire portfolio of products to contain at least 50% recycled material in its composition.
“With this we reduce the consumption of water, energy and the generation of greenhouse gases associated with these products. In the same way, it means a direct and indirect source of income for the more than 2,000 people who make up the Recicloplas recycling chain”points to Trade Enrique Sarco, Director of Sustainability at Pamolsa.
What does the work of Recicloplas consist of? All post-consumer PET recovered through its allied suppliers is selected, crushed and washed, to manufacture a high-quality flake that, after passing through an FDA-certified decontamination process, is used instead of virgin raw material for the manufacture of new products. “The Recicloplas recycling plant is located in Callao, but it is supplied with recycled material throughout Peru, of which Lima, Ica, Arequipa, Cusco and Junín stand out. The Recicloplas operation has been recognized by the Ministry of the Environment (Minam) as one of the best circular economy initiatives”, Sarco adds.
Data Currently, Pamolsa processes more than 750 tons of post-consumer PET per month. Its objective is, in the medium term, to increase the capacity and efficiency of the process.
An ambitious goal
Coca-Cola is a world-renowned brand and by using plastic packaging for their products, they have launched “A world without waste”. More than a campaign, the company understands it as a mission. The goal is to collect and recycle the equivalent of 100% of the packaging they place on the market, by 2030.
“We are based on three strategic axes: design, collection and alliances. In design, our goal is incorporate 50% recycled resin in all our bottles by 2030. In Peru we are already above 25% recycled resin and, in addition, we have the first bottle in the country made 100% from other bottles. We also have a returnability strategy with our plastic containers that can be reused up to 20 times before being completely recycled for reuse. In terms of collection, we work on some actions such as Bodega Sin Residuos and ReciclaBus, which seek to raise awareness and generate the habit of recycling in different districts of Lima. In terms of alliances, we work with organizations such as Recíclame in promoting collection models and in educating and changing consumer habits”, explains to this newspaper Daniel Suárez, director of Public Affairs, Communications and Sustainability for Latin America Coca-Cola Center.
That is also recycled
Within its circular economy strategy, Industrias del Envase have several success stories in the local market, such as the manufacture of plastic boxes for beer and soft drinks, made with 100% recycled resin.. However, its most recent recycling initiative aimed to recover as many used paint containers as possible.
“Together with IDE, Qroma and Recíclame, we carried out this pilot campaign in Qroma’s Color Centro stores. After recovering the buckets directly from the consumer, we had to find a supplier capable of conditioning the buckets so that they can enter our production cycle without problems. That is to say, that it can segregate, classify, clean and grind the buckets to an optimal size. We have already tested the inclusion of this recycled material in our production process, replacing more than 25% of the virgin raw material.”, details Gonzalo Bravo, commercial manager of Industrias del Envase.
This project is still in the testing stage, while they evaluate the feasibility of reverse logistics that allows them to close the recycling cycle of the material used to make the buckets, such as polypropylene and high-density polyethylene.
Nevertheless, one of its main challenges in this project has to do with the collection of used buckets. “This joint work involves raising consumer awareness in the first instance and, later, the operation itself, since it involves segregation at the source, collection and conditioning to prevent these buckets from ending up in some informal dump and ending their life cycle”Bravo stresses.
The great challenge of formalization
It is known that in Peru the rates of informality in recycling are very high. For the Recíclame association, as long as adequate monitoring is not carried out to know the existing gaps in detail, it will be difficult to make decisions.
“From our space, we contribute through knowledge management, technical education and the promotion of public policies. Precisely, This work has allowed us to provide real and reliable figures that allow us to draw measurable objectives and ensure the progressive development of the recycling chain in Peru.thus promoting the formalization of the actors of the system”, reflects Renzo Gomero, general manager of the Recíclame association.
The NGO Recicla Latam recalls that since 2011 the Minam has been implementing the Program for Segregation at the Source and Selective Collection of Solid Waste in urban homes throughout the country, and that in 2020 it implemented the “Roadmap towards a Circular Economy in the Industry Sector”, but that these actions taken are not enough.
“We do not have an infrastructure that can ensure that waste that is not recyclable or organic is properly disposed of, since there are more than 1,500 informal dumps and on the other, more than 90% of the recyclers are informal. In addition to the above, citizens are not properly aware of our role in the recycling chain”, emphasizes Fiorella Danjoy, executive director of the aforementioned NGO.
Danjoy believes that the keys to changing this situation is that, first, we all become aware of and take responsibility for the waste we generate, separate it at the source, formalize recyclers and companies that generate solid waste, and, finally, invest in systems to manage to recycle materials that up to now cannot be recycled locally.