May 17, 2022 #ChileSustentable

Ten Chilean companies that put recycling at the core of their business

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Of the approximately 20 tons of garbage generated in Chile each year, only 22% is recovered or recycled, and this recycled volume corresponds almost entirely to industrial waste. Here are a series of Chilean companies that have recycling as their raison d'être, that seek to be a contribution in themselves, but also to raise awareness of the need to reduce, recycle and reuse.

According to the latest State of the Environment Report of the Ministry of the Environment, 19.6 million tons of waste are generated in Chile each year. Of this, only 22% is recovered or recycled, although the volume recycled corresponds almost entirely to industrial waste.

Waste is a problem faced by all countries in the world. Chile sought to catch up in terms of recycling and on May 17, 2016, the Recycling and Extended Producer Responsibility (REP) Law was enacted, which seeks to reduce the generation of waste and encourage its reuse, recycling and other types of recovery. This, mainly by making manufacturers and importers of certain prioritized products responsible for recovering a percentage of them once their useful life is over. These priority products are: lubricating oils, electrical and electronic equipment, batteries, containers and packaging, tires and batteries. These products were prioritized because they have one or more of the following characteristics: mass consumption, significant volume of waste, hazardous waste, feasibility of recovery, and the existence of a comparative reference regulation.

On World Recycling Day, it is key to be aware of what everyone can do. Discover here a series of Chilean companies - from incipient startups to consolidated companies - that are promoting recycling and innovating to make Chile a garbage-free country .

TriCiclos: garbage is a design flaw

Co-founded in 2009 by Gonzalo Muñoz, Joaquín Arnolds and Manuel Díaz, TriCiclos began by creating "puntos limpios", sorting stations for recyclable materials that spread throughout Chile. In 2011 it became the first company to be certified as a B Company outside North America. TriCiclos seeks to solve the urgent problem of waste generation through waste management systems and consulting, with the motto that "waste is a design error. The company is present in several Latin American countries and has won international awards, such as "The Circulars" award in 2019, the "Oscar" of the circular economy, awarded by the World Economic Forum; in addition to being chosen in 2021 among the "Best for the World", recognition given by B Lab at an international level.

Reciclapp: The Uber of Recycling

The startup Reciclapp is a mobile application that connects anyone who wants to recycle (individuals, companies, and communities) with recyclers who collect material through 4 simple steps: first clean and separate all the waste, declare it in the app, schedule the collection and wait for the recycler. In addition, users earn "Recikarma" points to exchange them for products made from recycled waste. Founded in 2015 by engineer Cristián Lara, today it has 50 thousand users from different cities in Chile and has received support from Corfo, in addition to being recognized by the AntofaEmprende contest.

Ecofibra: from Iquique confronting textile waste

Faced with the need to address the large amount of textile waste that accumulated in the desert in the Tarapacá region, in 2016 Franklin Zepeda created Ecofibra, a startup that uses waste clothing and fabrics to manufacture ecological bags, insulating ecofiber and insulating panels for the construction of homes, thus achieving a reduction of up to 35% in electricity consumption due to the reduction in the use of heating or air conditioning. In 2021 they recycled close to 400 tons of textile waste and are preparing the installation of a plant in Santiago.

Futuroil: a solution for used lubricating oil

One liter of used lubricating oil can contaminate up to 4 million liters of water, according to figures from the National Association of the Recycling Industry (ANIR). To address this, the Chilean company Futuroil, created in 1984, is dedicated to regenerating and re-refining used lubricating oil, which is considered hazardous waste. The company, located in the municipality of Lampa, Metropolitan Region, is a pioneer in the recycling of oil that is removed from service centers to extract water and impurities. The re-refined product is distributed in service centers from Santiago to Punta Arenas. They receive around 3 million liters of used oil per year.

Armony: from the table to the subscription

For more than 30 years, Armony has been dedicated to the recycling and transformation of organic waste such as food waste from hotels, casinos and homes into compost for plants, and pallets into mulch (a protective layer that prevents weeds and keeps plants moist). This is achieved through sustainable technological solutions with a triple impact (economic, social and environmental), making the best use of raw materials. The plant receives 8,000 truckloads of waste per year for processing. In 2021 it was selected as one of the "Best for the World", an international award given by B Lab.

GreenSpot: giving new value to plastic from the South

This company located in the Los Lagos region, is dedicated to developing products from pellets made from plastic waste from different industries, such as, for example, buoys and floats from the salmon and fishing industry. Since 2017, GreenSpot has recycled more than 2 million kilograms of plastic waste. In 2021, it was chosen among the "Best for the World", a recognition delivered by B Lab at an international level, in addition to being recognized with the first Asipla Sustentable 2021 award (of the plastics industry at a national level). In December 2021, the company became a subsidiary of Resiter, a Chilean company with 40 years of experience in waste management and presence in five Latin American countries.

Sustrendlab: from tires to lithium-ion batteries

Located in the Valparaíso region, this laboratory, created in 2018 under the auspices of the sustainability consulting firm Sustrend, focuses on generating solutions for the circular economy from industrial waste. Sustrendlab 's main services focus on the development of new processes for the valorization of waste, developing new raw materials from by-products to reintegrate them into another productive chain. One of its revolutionary innovations is the recycling of tires to obtain graphite, which is used to produce lithium-ion batteries, key to electromobility.

Environmental Challenge: transforming plastic into wood

Created by engineer Anita Farfán and industrial designer María José Vargas in 2013, this company began by grinding plastic and selling it to companies for processing. Today they are dedicated to processing plastic waste and turning it into objects and construction materials, which are divided into four lines: Everwood (their most important brand), which manufactures plastic wood for different uses; AislaPET, an insulation fiber similar to glass and for which they received an award from Corfo; Everplastic, small-scale and household products, such as flowerpots and coasters; and 3D con Sentido, 3D printing of face masks, prostheses and cell phone holders.

Native root: wood recycling and social reintegration

It rescues hardwoods to give them a second life in the hands of inmates who learn the craft of craftsmanship in prison, making products from them. Created by Cristián Barahona, in San Fernando (O'Higgins region), in 2019 Raíz Nativo was among the winners of the Impulso Chileno award, from Fundación Luksic. The wood used as raw material is rescued from disassemblies, demolitions or even from the bottom of the southern lakes, to transform them into institutional gifts such as tables and salad bowls.

Bioils: vegetable oils for the chemical industry

One liter of cooking oil contaminates 1,000 liters of water, remaining for years in seas and rivers. In response to this problem, Bioils collects from Arica to Puerto Montt used vegetable oils from supermarkets, restaurants, hotels, casinos, among others, to condition them and transform them into inputs for the chemical industry, which then uses them to make soaps, detergents, candles and industrial oils. The company is now a leader in the recycling of used vegetable oils in Latin America, with its operations center in Chile, from where it has expanded to Peru, Argentina, Colombia and Ecuador.

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