The search for new paths that lead to economic sustainability was one of the challenges faced by the recycling industry in Cuba, after the impact of the monetary order and the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In this context, chaining their productions and offering new alternatives was essential.
The Recycling Business Group (GER) currently has 26 associated companies, 16 Raw Material Recovery Companies (ERMP), two Urban Solid Waste Plants, three specialized companies, three support companies associated with logistics and two public limited companies .
The main function of the recycling industry is to supply the domestic market with the raw material for the productions that start from the recycling process, said Marilyn Ramos Polanco, vice president of the GER.
He added that, without ceasing to fulfill this function, other variants have also been implemented to increase the income of the business group, which allow economic growth to be maintained, despite the low rates of production of raw materials compared to the years prior to the crisis caused by the pandemic.
After the application of the new measures referred to the Socialist State Company, the GER has implemented several measures in its different companies to improve the income indexes with the manufacture of new products.
The economic impact that these new productions have had on the growth of the company is important, since the values for which this raw material was previously sold as scrap are lower than those received now with a finished and quality product, Jesús explained. O’Farril Fernández, director of the ERMP Havana.
With raw materials derived mainly from non-ferrous waste, glasses, plates, pipes, hoses, bags, basins, doors, windows and electrical boxes, among other assortments, are manufactured.
These products were sold exclusively through online stores to the wholesale market, however, steps are being taken to open stores for the retail market, of which two are currently operating: one in Villa Clara and the other in Sancti Spíritu, reported .
THE CHALLENGE OF THE WORLD MARKET
Export strategies vary according to the country’s industrial situation. In previous years, little demand was received by the national ferrous scrap industry, so a large percentage was destined for export, explained Jorge Luis Tamayo Díaz, president of the GER.
He added that these exports have allowed considerable economic growth in freely convertible currency, taking into account the prices for which certain metals move in the international market.
The main clients of the Cuban recycling industry are in Canada and Europe. At the end of the first quarter of this year, revenue rates of more than 20 million dollars have already been registered, which represent more than 50% of the company’s annual plan, reported Alecmar Díaz González, general director of the Import and Export Company of Products Recyclables (Unequip).
Despite these revenues, the company has losses of between 5 and 7% for each economic transaction, due to the impact of the criminal laws of the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the US government against Cuba, explained Díaz González .
COLLECTION PROCESS OF RECYCLABLE MATERIALS
The GER, as well as its associated companies, depends on the generation of waste from society in order to fulfill its corporate purpose, for which the population, institutions and new economic actors have a fundamental role on this front.
Law 1288/1975 establishes that the organisms and other dependencies of the State are obliged to collect the waste of recyclable materials with the objective of reusing them; however, there is great irresponsibility and a large part of this waste reaches landfills, where this material has already lost great quality, said Marilyn Ramos Polanco, vice president of the GER.
As a collection strategy, the GER has 716 fixed recycling points: 345 state-owned and 371 for self-employed workers, in addition to the activities of mobile points, door-to-door purchases, recovery through student movements and mass organizations, community service companies and the implementation of 589 clean points, he said.
The clean points are the superior strategy that we want to reach, since these allow us to collect waste in classified containers, allowing a higher quality at the time of recycling, said the President of the GER.
He added that recycling and reuse are two fundamental pillars of the Circular Economy, however, it is not only the task of raw material companies, but it is essential to achieve adequate awareness at the social and state level about the importance of this activity for the economy. national.
He explained that everything that can be used is recovered and what no longer has a remedy becomes scrap, and pointed out that a country that is capable of reusing 60% of its waste is on the path to sustainability, a path along which Cuba advances with effort with rates above 27%.
The creation of the recycling industry in the Greater Antilles is a work of Commander Ernesto Che Guevara that continues today.