Network helps companies manage waste | AGÊNCIA FAPESP

Builder Camargo Correa adopts a system created by a company funded through a FAPESP Innovative Research in Small Businesses program

Network helps companies manage waste

January 30, 2013

By Elton Alisson


Agência FAPESP – Sanctioned in 2011, the National Solid Waste Policy (PNRS) established that manufacturers, importers, distributors and sellers of products in general should create a logistics system making it possible to recycle the materials they generate. 
 
A project developed at the CIETEC incubator (Centro de Inovação, Empreendedorismo e Tecnologia) through a FAPESP Innovative Research in Small Businesses grant (PIPE) led to a system that allows companies, shopping centers or even small municipalities of up to 100,000 inhabitants, for example, to meet the requirements of the new law and even generate income or reduce costs through the rational management of recyclable materials. 
 
Called “Rede Resíduo” [Waste Network], Sistema Ciclo’s platform connects producers of large amounts of waste with recyclers, transport companies, and treatment and disposal companies through an online network.
 
In the system, the producers register the batch of waste they want to sell, trade, donate or dispose of, and the companies that seek materials for their processes or recyclers of each type of waste post their interest for business opportunities in an exchange market of merchandise and services. 
 
“The purpose of the network is to facilitate business and create an ecosystem that brings together all the actors in the production chain with those that use recycled materials,” said Francisco Luiz Biazini Filho, one of the project’s founders, to Agência FAPESP.
 
The project began in 2005 with an electronic commerce platform called “Dr. Resíduo” [Dr. Waste] that mediated business transactions between companies and recyclers, charging a percentage or fixed rate for the service.
 
In 2011, the platform was reworked into Rede Resíduo to be a personalized network in which the companies producing the waste can rationally manage their own recyclable materials. 
 
“A waste-generating company needs to have its own network because the materials it generates are different from those produced by any other,” said Biazini. 
 
The specialist also notes that according to the new waste management policy (PNRS) companies are now responsible for the residue they generate through the end of their life cycles. 
 
According to Biazini, when companies outsource waste management, they may pay more and may also assume the risk of inappropriate disposal, which under the new legislation is a non-bailable environmental crime. 
 
“Each company will have to take special care of the waste it generates. And this is beginning to be clear, especially for large companies that put together their own waste networks and manage to sell as well as administrate and track waste through a georeferencing system within our system,” Biazini noted.
 
Generating revenue
 
One of the first large companies to implement the Sistema Ciclo model was Camaro Correa. In August 2011, the builder began a pilot project to implement a corporate waste exchange at three construction sites that it administers in Brazil: the Jirau hydroelectric plant in Rondônia, the Ferrosul railway consortium in Goiás and the RNest Refinery in Pernambuco.
 
In March 2012, Camargo Correa began to increase the system to include all of the 32 construction sites it manages in different regions of Brazil. 
 
The builder has sold 11,600 tons of metals at R$ 270 per ton, 700 tons of plastic at R$ 686 per ton and 400 tons of paper at R$ 280 per ton through the system, which cost R$ 250,000 to set up. 
 
When all its construction sites are integrated into the system, Camargo Correa estimates that it will have revenue of approximately R$ 2.5 million through waste sales.
 
“Companies have to learn that the waste they produce isn’t garbage, but resources. What to them is waste becomes raw materials for the production chains of other companies,” said Biazini.
 
According to him, nearly 30% of the waste generated in the city of São Paulo comes from residential construction—amounting to over 4,300 tons of material daily. And large civil construction projects generate 5-6 times this amount. “We consider that up to 80% of this residue is recyclable, or at least could be, but instead is being sent to landfills,” he said. 
 
“Every year in Brazil, R$ 11 billion worth of recyclable materials are buried, over R$ 2.5 million of which is plastic residue that is recyclable in some manner,” he noted.
 
One criticism that Biazini and other environmental specialists have about the new PNRS is that it creates an opening for the installation of waste incineration plants to substitute for landfills. 
 
However, the specialists say that these incineration plants may only be fed after proof that a complete management cycle of the waste has been implemented, including reduction, reuse and recycling. Only after these three processes are guaranteed is it possible to perform treatment and final disposal.
 
“We have to be careful about the use of incineration plants because, as today’s alternative to burying, we could be burning the money that could be generated by recycling the waste and still paying the plants to do so,” he warned. 
 
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