07.01.2014

“We generate facts from waste"

A company dedicated to the recycling of post-consumer plastic containers, located in Sarandi, developed a processing plant that transforms labels, lids and safety rings of the containers into material for the production of polypropylene pipes and traps.

“We generate facts from waste"

Reciclar S.A. receives in its plant the material bailed by the collecting companies.

Plastics are synthetic materials obtained by polymerization reactions derived from oil (petroleum) that thanks to various properties, is a material that can be molded and adapted to different shapes and uses. Plastics have made a significant contribution to solve several needs of people, but when these materials lose functionality for which were designed plastics become highly polluting wastes to the environment since their decomposition can take more than 200 years.

Our country generates 12,325 tons of waste per year, 14 % of which is plastic. According to the National of Urban Solid Waste Management Center, 44% of the total waste generated in Argentina is dumped improperly either in landfills or open-air dumps. When this large amount of plastic waste is deposited in landfills there will be a risk that not only the ground but also the water below the landfill base, which often is a source of pure water, get contaminated.

Reciclar S.A. has been operating for more than 40 years in Sarandi, a district of Avellaneda, it is a manufacturing company that reverses this situation to recover plastic and transform them into suitable raw materials for industry. Thus, Reciclar S.A. prevents that 30,000 tons per year of soda bottles (600 million of bottles) be accumulated in landfills. Daniel Cappeletti, industrial engineer and director of the Reciclar S.A. plant, states that "people are not aware of the final destination of the containers.  Regarding to this circumstance, we have an ecological mission: generate facts from waste".

Pay it forward

The collection of PET post consumer containers starts in the streets through the waste pickers (informal collection). Men and women roam the streets collecting soda containers, carbonated beverages containers, siphon containers, mineral water and sports drinks bottles, thrown away from homes and shops. This material is brought to large collection centers, and later sold to recycling companies. "Thanks to the informal collection between 30 and 35% of the PET containers placed on the market is recycled.Without the informal collection, these industries would not exist" Cappeletti states.

Reciclar S.A. receives in its plant the material bailed by the collecting companies. 90% of post consumer PET containers received at recycling plant correspond to the task carried out by waste pickers and the remaining 10% to containers discarded by the industry.

Material is sorted according to the PET color and size and placed in special machines to remove and decontaminate the containers from sand, stones, etc. Once cleaned, PET goes to a second instance where labels, polypropylene caps and safety rings are removed. Later, it is immersed in special floatation tanks that separate PET from other lighter polymers. Then, the material is washed with surfactants to remove remaining labels or adhesive. In this stage, the material is suitable for extrusion. Flakes are rinsed and centrifuged and then ferrous materials are separated from non-ferrous materials by operators. Finally, the material is transported through hot air for final drying. This process generates a product suitable as raw material for producing polyester resins, for PET sheets which are later thermoformed to manufacture textile yarns, PET strapping and beams.

Recycling waste from waste

Some time ago, in the recycling industry, the coating of PET bottles was considered a byproduct discarded as scrap. Around 144 tons of labels per month were disposed in landfills. In 2008, Reciclar S.A. decided to give added value to the scrap resulting from the recycling activity. To this purpose, the National Agency for Science and Technology Promotion through the Argentinean Technology Fund granted to Reciclar S.A. a fund for the amount of $ 366,000 so that specialized technical personnel of the company developed the sequence of operations required to process container labels, lids and safety rings. Thanks to this development, Reciclar S.A. gets the material free of adhesives, inks and plastics, suitable for extrusion and pelletizing. Thus, the company provides the industrial market with pellets for reuse in the manufacture of pipes and polypropylene straps.

A life recycling

Six years ago, life was very difficult for Cristian Corbalán. Cristian had no job and was one among the 1,500 people roaming the streets every night in more than 500 carts to collect plastic bottles from the garbage. To survive he used to take containers to the collection centers and exchange them for money. In one of these depots, his life took a different turn. He was offered a job, to handle plastic containers inside the depot.

Some time later, Cristian had acquired sufficient experience to take another important step in his life. He applied for a position at Reciclar S.A. an industrial company devoted to the recycling of containers and industrial raw materials. Thanks to his experience in plastic containers handling he was hired to work in the PET recycling sector, in finished material.

Today, Cristian has the experience acquired in the streets, the knowledge learned in the collection depot and his dreams fulfilled through his job at Reciclar S.A.: "Thanks to this job I was able to raise a family that being in the streets would have been impossible, now I have my own house and a beautiful daughter".

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“We generate facts from waste"

Reciclar S.A. receives in its plant the material bailed by the collecting companies.

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