Recycling Mexico´s Most Problematic Source of WasteWed, 02/24/2016 - 13:49
One of modern society’s most ubiquitous and problematic sources of waste is tires, due their durability, ecologically problematic components, and the large volumes produced. It is estimated that 1.5 billion tires are discarded each year worldwide. This shocking figure inspired Victor Pagaza, Director General of a3p, to start a business focusing on recycling used tires. The company operates within an aggressive market and the figures reflect this. “In the state of California in the US, 180 million tires are thrown away per year and in Texas over 36 million. In Mexico, the figure is not as steep, but it is equally galling: 40 million tires are discarded annually.”
According to Pagaza, for a time it was difficult for people to grasp the concept of sustainability and the market could not mantain the businesses. “It was common to see the opening and closing of recycling factories. For a while, the government and the general population paid no heed to recycling, but when news spread about the impact of climate change and the auspicious consumption of today’s society, we saw a change of mindset.” As a result, a3p has found unique ways of recycling tires, and the most common application is waterproof materials, which has become part of a3p’s core business. “The company has ties with universities, so undergraduate students help design and create new applications and products,” he adds. The support of universities and R&D centers is crucial for a3p.
Despite the unique ways a3p recycled the tires, these barely scratched the surface of those 40 million tires. As a result, it sought products that could recycle tires on a mass scale and this led to the waterproof materials. “There are many commercial businesses and houses that require waterproofing systems and our product is an ideal solution,” Pagaza explains. One of the company’s flagship projects is with McDonald’s, where it waterproofed 80 of its restaurant. “This client was so impressed by the products that it wanted us to waterproof all the restaurants from Mexico’s Rio Bravo to the tip of Argentina. Unfortunately, we did not have the capacity, yet we developed a successful relationship and success story,” he boasts. A3p has worked to acquire other large clients; however, it has encountered a major barrier in payment times that do not suit the financial needs of the company. “For instance, Walmart pays every 120 days. It is difficult for SMEs to establish commercial ties and become suppliers to these large companies because of this,” he laments.
Pagaza remains undeterred. The company has many ambitions and one of them is to open its own distribution store, which will serve as an environmentally-friendly supermarket that offers only green and recycled products. Recycling should be at the forefront of any company’s business model.