Published on 19 August 2015 by Granma

Cuba recycling

Finding value in waste, recycling, contributing to import substitution, are some of the motivations of those working at the Artemisa Company for the Recovery of Raw Materials.

With the aim of selling recyclable waste, destined for the domestic industry and exports, the mission for the entity this year is to recover over 13,600 tons of raw materials. In the first half of the year, targets have been surpassed, with sales up 20% over plans.

“We process 16 products, which we divide between ferrous, non-ferrous and metal recyclable scraps; scrap steel and cast iron are the leaders,” Andrés Ayllón, deputy manager, highlights.

Rum and beer bottles, paper, cardboard, aluminum, copper, sacks, medicine bottles, lead batteries, scrap steeland cast iron, are the recyclables destined for the domestic industry, among others.

Meanwhile, copper, aluminum, stainless steel, bronze and electronic scraps are destined for export, marketed by the Equipment Dismantling Company.

“We search out the added value - mainly bronze, paper and cardboard, plastic, and copper, according to classification, among other things, that is, we buy, process, classify and, in certain cases, we press,” comments Ayllón.

“Every month we have met our plans. Although the technology is obsolete and aging, the collective dedicates itself to caring for it,” he added.

The company has an investment plan of 372,700 Cuban pesos, or 241,100 Convertible pesos for the replacement of equipment and fixtures.

Among themain goalsis that of improvingworking conditions,increasing recyclingby the state sector, and refining the classification process at the point of origin and in the processing centerto find moreadded value in the materials.

Visiting another associated entity, the UEB Metalúrgica, specializing in metals, in the town of Cai­mi­to, our team came across another important area for recycling in the country.

The facility uses electrolysis and smelting, as well as other methods, to obtain recycled silver from hospital radiographic liquids, plaques, reels and photographic film, and batteries. The refining plant produces silver with a high degree of purity.

“We process saturated radiographic liquids (the collection cycle takes between 30 and 40 days), we extract the silver and add certain components; this way they can be reused in medical centers,” explains Lázaro René Armas, head of production in the metallurgical area since 2011.

In this sense, the visionary idea of Che Guevara, who proposed the creation of the recycling industry, in order to replace imports of raw materials essential to the country's economy, is being put into practice. This is an initiative which became a reality when the Revolution was approaching its third year and is ongoing, thanks to the daily efforts of the workers in this sector.

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