"Recycling is weaker, recycling is less resistant, recycling is worse". It is easy to have heard these complaints about products made with Recycled material. Many citizens, at some time, will have doubts about its quality, its resistance or its functionality, either due to lack of information or lack of direct experience. But what real differences are there? Is this topic met or denied?
Three SMEs, terrestrial and from different areas, count the result of their bet, industrial and commercial, for this type of raw materials. An advance: they agree that it is something necessary, an increasingly mandatory alternative for close the circle of production and soften the pressure on the sources of resources that we, manufacturers and consumers, exercise on the planet.
Ecological paints in recycled cubes
"Exactly the same benefits," says Mónica Aguirre, director of marketing of Industrias Juno, a manufacturer of paintings from Bizkaia, in the recycled plastic bucket that has just been released for its line of ecological paints. "We were in full redesign of these containers and we thought it was the best moment, now that plastic is an issue that is on the global agenda," continues Aguirre, whose company, founded in 1927, invoices about 50 million euros per year. and sells mostly to the professional painter.
"In terms of compression, fall, resistance to stacking, weight, dimension and conservation, the cube works perfectly," says Íñigo Lázaro, the company's purchasing manager and the person who has supervised the change of packaging, 80% recycled and assortment by your usual provider. "Until some kick I gave him to see if he could hold it," he laughs. The price of the raw material of the new cube, explains Lázaro, "is also similar". The only visible difference, they say, is the color of this kind of plastic, less defined and homogeneous, a peculiarity that they save by dying it in gray or blue colors.
"We have always been concerned about environmental certifications in manufacturing and design, but now we try to move forward with more restrictive legislation," Tercia Aguirre. "In the industry they still send quality and price, but all things equal, a recycled container can be differential."
The most technical fabric of the most abundant garbage
Recycling not only serves to contain other products. "All kinds of articles can be manufactured with the same quality and characteristics as those made from virgin raw materials", say from Ecoembes, the organization that coordinates the recycling of yellow and blue container waste, a figure that in Spain it reached 77.1% in 2017. "For example, the aluminum in cans of soft drinks and preserves can be recovered unlimitedly and become new cans with the same conservation and resistance properties".
They know it well in Ternua, a technical sports garment company from Gipuzkoa that takes this predilection for the second life of garbage a step further. "With her we make clothes of a high level of sophistication", explains Imanol Muñoz, director of marketing of the company, which has about 175 employees and trades with 20 countries in Europe, Asia and America. The credibility, for them, comes from testing their clothes in demanding conditions. "If someone has taken one of our coats in a world championship, how will it not be for me to take a tour of the Pyrenees, that's a guarantee".
One of Ternua's projects consists of reusing fishing nets that float adrift on the Basque coasts. In collaboration with the guild of fishermen of Gipuzkoa and the Basque Government, the textile sews clothes with fabric made from these waste and puts them back on the market. "This year we have achieved a ski mountaineering diver, with this material," Muñoz is proud, pointing out that they have won three prizes with their recycled clothes at the Ispo Award, a sports equipment event. The director points out that they were also the first to use feather from stuffed pillows and quilts already used for the filling of their jackets, "choosing those that still perfectly fulfilled their function and achieving the same conditions of isolation." "We do not want to monopolize this way of doing things, we want to teach what we can do, the more people do it, the better," he concludes.
30 years of bottles "different and 100% recycled"
María Carmen Sanchís is the manager of Visasol, a small Valencian company with 14 employees that supplies cleaning products to schools, prisons, hotels and supermarkets, among other clients. Sanchís has been packing its lyes for 30 years in recycled cans that they make from pellets, the pellets in which the plastic turns after passing through the recycler. That's why the question about its quality surprises you. "The qualities and usefulness are the same for what we manufacture," he explains. "We do not have an additional cost either, at least in our sector, natural plastic pollutes more and is more expensive, it costs me almost the same to work recycled as virgin".
Sanchís understands that, due to the color of recycled plastic, its packaging is not the most outstanding. But from that distinction they have made a fortress. "I have fought a lot in this sector because my carafe was not the most beautiful, but we have always differentiated and we have entered and remained in the market," he explains in reference to the phosphorescence exhibited by the packaging of the major brands, a brightness that allows the virgin plastic. "Our bet is a good interior product and a 100% recycled container, we have always been that way," he concludes.