- Title: Cuban cooperative turns plastic trash into "ecomadera"
- Date: 18th December 2019
- Summary: MATANZA, CUBA (DECEMBER 13, 2019) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF PLASTIC BOTTLES AND TRASH AT THE BEACH PERSON PICKING PLASTIC BAGS UP PEOPLE PICKING TRASH UP AT THE BEACH BIRD ON A ROCK PEOPLE PICKING GARBAGE UP BAG FULL OF PLASTIC BOTTLES WOMAN PICKING PLASTIC BAGS UP PEOPLE PICKING TRASH UP (SOUNDBITE) VICE PRESIDENT OF ATRES COOPERATIVE, JOSE SOTO, SAYING: "Our cooperative was founded five years ago and in one year has been working the ecomadera. From the recycling of solid wastes, such as plastics, we found a solution to obtain raw materials that we did not have at that time, such as the shortage of wood and others that we had difficulties to process. With this, we have helped the country to import substitution. And, we have also achieved an environmental impact from the point of view of removing, with actions that we have also carried out cleaning of beaches and natural environments. More than 6 tons of plastic in coordination also with other organizations of Cuban civil society." PEOPLE PICKING TRASH UP BAGS FULL OF BOTTLES OF PLASTIC WORKERS ARRIVING AT FACTORY WITH BAGS FULL OF BOTTLES OF PLASTIC WORKERS EMPTYING BAGS GENERAL VIEW OF PLASTIC PROCESSING FACTORY (SOUNDBITE) MANAGER OF THE PLASTIC FACTORY OF ATRES COOPERATIVE, SERGIO CACERES, SAYING: "We bring it, any type of plastic. We grind it. We pass it through the extruder and make the ecomadera with that, which has many uses and is very good." VARIOUS OF WORKER PROCESSING PLASTIC ON MILL WASTE PLASTIC COMING OUT OF MILL VARIOUS OF MACHINE PROCESSING PLASTIC (SOUNDBITE) VICE PRESIDENT OF ATRES COOPERATIVE, JOSE SOTO, SAYING: "The mills for crushing is the main problem we have today. Because the extruder does have a capacity that exceeds our commercialization today. But the mills limit us a little from viewpoint of production. To crush the plastic to be able to feed the machine." VARIOUS OF WORKERS ASSEMBLING ECOMADERA PIECES WOMAN SITTING ON BENCH MADE WITH ECOMADERA VARIOUS OF BRIDGE MADE WITH ECOMADERA KIOSKS MADE WITH ECOMADERA WOMAN THROWING TRASH ON BASKET MADE WITH ECOMADERA BENCHES AND KIOSKS MADE WITH ECOMADERA (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) DEVELOPMENT SPECIALIST OF ATRES COOPERATIVE, ARMANDO ARMADA, SAYING: "The ecomadera is not made of a single plastic, it is made of a formula of different plastics. One kind gives hardness, another gives plasticity, and that is the formation that ecomadera gets. That is why we started afterward - we got the profiles first - and then we started to think about what could be obtained through those profiles. We started to make a bench, tables, and then now, after a year, better quality and quality has been achieved. Greater acceptance with those products." EXTERIOR OF PLASTIC WAREHOUSE VARIOUS OF BAGS WITH PLASTIC STACK IN THE WAREHOUSE (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) DEVELOPMENT SPECIALIST OF ATRES COOPERATIVE, ARMANDO ARMADA, SAYING: "These steps we are taking, I think we are pioneers. But many cooperatives will come, self-employed based on these same things. I think it is a great solution to our society." HAVANA, CUBA (RECENT) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF WORKERS STACKING ECOMADERA PIECES (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) MEMBER OF ATRES COOPERATIVE, DUNIA HERNANDEZ, SAYING: "We have the guarantee for 50 years of its durability (ecomadera). It has a very strong impact economically, because in what wood is used, two, three, four, five times, ours (ecomadera) is for all that time and they are important things that must be taken into account." VARIOUS OF WORKERS ASSEMBLING ECOMADERA PIECES (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) MEMBER OF ATRES COOPERATIVE, DUNIA HERNANDEZ, SAYING: "Tree felling is no longer necessary. You can continue planting trees for the sanitation of cities, for all that we know is beneficial. It should not be used (wood) for the construction of furniture and for the construction of all the other things." VARIOUS OF WORKERS ASSEMBLING ECOMADERA PIECES
- Embargoed: 1st January 2020 15:15
- Keywords: Cuba Havana Matanzas eco-movement in Cuba ecomadera plastic recycling recycling in Cuba what is ecomadera
- Location: MATANZAS + HAVANA, CUBA
- City: MATANZAS + HAVANA, CUBA
- Country: Cuba
- Topics: Environment,Editors' Choice
- Reuters ID: LVA001BAI66GZ
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: A Cuban cooperative that manufactures furniture used about 300 tons of plastic waste in the last year to launch a new product line due to the lack of wood and iron, its two main raw materials.
Atres, as the group is called, decided to experiment with polymers of multiple plastics to create its "ecomadera" on the island, where the accumulation and recycling of waste is an environmental and social problem.
Based in Matanzas, a marine city with multiple rivers about 100 kilometres from Havana, the members of Atres set out to clean beaches, river mouths and dumps together with civil society organisations and collected about 6 tons of plastic waste in one year.
The rest of the necessary material has been obtained through contracts with the state Union of Commodity Recovery Companies and private collectors. Currently, the waste arrives from several provinces of the country, and the warehouse they use in a town of Matanzas will soon be insufficient.
Atres rented an old disused warehouse from a state factory, redesigned a discontinued extruder to produce ecomadera profiles, and created a line of benches, pergolas, walkways, baskets - its star product - and several furniture, whose durability has been certified by Cuban laboratories for 50 years.
Among its main state clients are ministries such as Public Health and Tourism, as well as communal ones. Local governments such as Havana have hired them to create structures for public parks and bus stops.
Despite Atres' enthusiasm for expanding ecomadera production, this area currently only represents 10% of the cooperative's overall earnings. Among the main limitations of the group is the lack of plastic grinder mills.
By 2020, the cooperative expects to start a production line with rubber, glass and paper waste.
(Production: Nelson Gonzalez, Anett Rios)
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