translated from Spanish: Chileans transform plumavit waste into paints and coatings of real estate projects

Reducing the waste generated by the construction industry and other industries, and mitigating its impact on the environment was the main objective after the creation of Poliestirec, a company from the Los Lagos Region, which decided to make the leap by producing on a large scale paints and coatings manufactured from plumavit discards and position them at the country level as a cutting-edge and high-quality raw material within the same industry, one of the largest consumers of these products that are applied in the stage of completion and sealing of their real estate projects.
According to Antonio Vial, General Manager of Poliestirec, expanded polystyrene or plumavit, is a derivative of plastic that is used transversely as an insulator in constructions and that, despite being an excellent material –due to its low cost and very good thermal properties–, is the largest environmental liability worldwide, because its reuse or recycling is scarce or very high cost. “This causes it to end up in landfills or polluting the sea, lakes, rivers and wetlands of our Los Lagos Region and with this initiative we prevent them from reaching our bodies of water,” he says.
The company Triciclos Chile estimates that in our country about 360 million tons of plumavit are discarded per year and it is estimated that 60 million come from industrial work. Without proper treatment, it can remain up to a thousand years on the planet because it is not biodegradable.
“It is true that its recycling is complex because it requires large-scale machinery and there is still no such capacity in Chile to provide a guarantee that it will be recycled,” says Álvaro Mujica, Operations Manager of Company B.
However, through its collection, management and treatment model, Poliestirec has reached the capacity to recycle 4 and a half tons per month of this waste, which comes mostly from construction works and, to a lesser extent, from the residential and aquaculture sector. Its factory, located in Puerto Varas, can transform these 4,500 kilos into 42,800 liters / month of paints and coatings.
Inmobiliaria Altas Cumbre was the first player in the industry to incorporate Poliestirec products into complete residential projects. “We found it interesting to join the circular economy as a company with a material that before considered a loss for the company and, on the other hand, access to products that have proven to be of as good quality as conventional ones, but with better resistance to humidity and durability, which is precisely what we are looking for for the homes we develop in the south, where the climatic conditions are more extreme”, explains Enrique Loeser, commercial manager of the real estate.

In a first stage, the company acquired 1,500 liters of paint to cover 150,000 m2 in its real estate projects located in Villarrica, Puerto Varas, Puerto Montt and Punta Arenas.
Another characteristic of the paints is that they are water-based, which is the most used type in the industry, in varieties such as latex, enamel, antifungals, elastomeric waterproofing and vitrifying, among others. All its products and processes are designed to protect the safety of its plant personnel and applicators or end customers, using environmentally friendly chemicals recommended by the Chem XXI Agency. In addition, they have quality certified by the Institute of Research and Control of the Army (IDIC).
“While our direct impact is for now on the Circular Economy of the Los Lagos Region, we have the capacity to produce and sell the products throughout Chile. In addition, waste management can be done with medium and large companies, public institutions, local recyclers, among others, to which we can issue a certificate of responsible disposal that indicates the amount of carbon emissions reduced with this action. In this sense, our main goal is to grow and break the paradigm that construction cannot contribute to the environment”, concludes Antonio Vial.

Original source in Spanish

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