While the United States recycles 30 percent of expanded polystyrene, better known as Styrofoam, in Mexico they collect under 400 tons of the product per year, i.e. 0.1 percent of annual consumption in the country. Also, because of the lack of technology to transform it into a raw material for the production of office supplies, computer equipment or automotive parts used in cars, little is achieved in recycling it so it is sold to the United States for domestic consumption. Gerardo Rocha Pedra, corporate manager of recycling programs to DART of Mexico, said that the country has only a machine located in Atlacomulco, State of Mexico, so it lacks the resources to move the Styrofoam that is discarded in other states.
The recycling industry concept is new in the country. All this was born in Asia 30 years after it adopted the US and Canada 25 years ago, while in Mexico has just three years experience. Information from the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI) notes that the country consumes annually more than 13 billion pieces including cups, plates and plaques dedicated to the construction industry, representing a volume of 350 thousand tons. The United States recycles about 30 percent of total consumption in the country. Canada has its own association founded in 1989 by 24 companies interested in public education Styrofoam recycling; recycled 30,000 tons per year.
DART has only one machine of Korean origin, which has a cost of $25,000. “Our machine was acquired via the United States, is small, with adjustments on the conveyor belt. There are many suppliers of such equipment in the world, but no one wanted to invest in it, “he said. Pedra Rocha has devoted three years to other companies or state and local governments adopt a measure to recycle polystyrene, which says it is close to achieving. ” We managed to sign an agreement with UNAM in 2010 for the Faculty of Engineering is the first academic institution in Latin America to adopt Styrofoam recycling technology.
This strategic approach with the Faculty of Engineering is unique in its kind, being the first not only collecting expanded polystyrene, but actually recycling it. The manager explained that they are already in talks with foreign firms that give the last stage in the transformation of this plastic to be installed in the country and they can have the benefits of recycling the plastic. The main challenge, he said, is that employers and the general public see the economic benefits of reusing expanded polystyrene.
José del Cueto, president of the National Association of Plastics Industries (ANIPAC), told El Financiero that transportation and cleaning of these products is the most complicated step for recycling. “The logistics are costly when they bring Styrofoam cups and plates from faraway places to the ground where you are given a treatment of reuse; Very few companies will have the capital to pay for these expenses, “he explained. The transfer of Styrofoam is not easy , because 90 percent of its composition is air, which can be very bulky, but weight is much lower, “said . The transformation process consists of 4 steps. The first is collecting or gathering, in which individuals or government take their waste to the only center that exists in the country, where they ask who has no other type of plastic, liquid or food . This material passes termodensificado machine, where through hot air is extracted from Styrofoam (95 percent is air, only 5 percent is plastic). A block of 20 kilos, for example, is equivalent to 7000 500 vessels. This block is transported to a processing plant raw material, located in the US, where it passes through a process of milling and extrusion. After this, the results are raw material.