When Dulce Álvarez and her sister Olga spent some time working in their family’s business in Ecatepec, Mexico, they realised that the rubber powders they produced could be used to make a waterproof membrane that would also offer a level of insulation when used in construction.
The new product has an expected lifespan of 10 years and has brought Granutec recognition amongst the developing Mexican recycling market as innovative player in the market.
Making use of recycled materials in Mexico is not easy, says Manuel Álvarez who has struggled against the lack of understanding of the problem, the product and the materials.
"This is a project that very few people understand, there is no tyre recycling culture. They see us working this material and believe that we are a polluting company and we are the opposite, we take 120 tons of tyres off the streets every month. Actually, we are a cleaning company. We have had problems with people, but the government is the one that has often put barriers in the way of development,” explains Álvarez
From time to time the plant gets inspections and Álvarez has to continually reinforce the clean operation at the plant and his main weapon in fighting the bureaucracy is to comply with all the required licences and permits.
"What we want to do is create a culture of caring for the environment, we try to cause as little damage as possible, this technology is clean and we want to set an example. We plan to use electric cars too (so as not to use vehicles that consume gasoline) because the commitment we have is very great, "he added.
The process of manufacturing the waterproofing is based on the grinding of the tyre. After cleaning the tyres are shredded and granulated. The fine powders that are generated as a byproduct and added to a special sealant blend and packed in 19 litre cans for sale to the construction trade.
"This process does not generate dioxins and our process is clean, with a minimum impact on carbon footprint, because we use electric power", explains Dulce Álvarez
The popularity of the ecological waterproofing prompted Granutec to participate in various competitions, such as the Citibanamex Award for the Company with the Greatest Social Impact, where it obtained the third place and the "Kia Motor de Mujer" award given to Dulce Álvarez for her performance as leader of the project.