Benefiting from Recycling

Benefiting from Recycling

Grupo AlEn

9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure 11. Sustainable Cities and Communities 12. Responsible Consumption and Production 14. Life Below Water 17. Partnerships for the Goals

Overview

As a social responsible company, AlEn has shown great preoccupation in terms of sustainability in the production and discharge of their products, this is demonstrated in their recycling program "Alen Recycles", which not only helps the environment, but also the society.

Authors

Sofía Martínez

Sofía Martínez

Brandon Regalado

Brandon Regalado

José Ayala

José Ayala

Carlos Gómez

Carlos Gómez

School

Universidad de Monterrey

Universidad de Monterrey

Professor

Consuelo Garcia-de-la-torre

Consuelo Garcia-de-la-torre

Innovation

The “AlEn Recycles” project basically consists In the following aspects: the collection of the recycled material, its transportation and finally, its new use and the search of a benefit for the surroundings. The recyclable materials collection centers in various cities of Mexico are focused in the recollection of recyclable materials that can be used by AlEn for the packaging of new products, this by recycling the collected materials and turning them into raw material again, which can be then reused in the production line of the final product. The project focuses on the need to decrease plastic waste while also helping the people by helping to create a culture of recycling and by giving them rewards for their cooperation with the project. This innovation involves a lot more than only the recycling of the material, the main focus and preoccupation of the company starts in this second use that they can give to some packaging materials that are considered trash for most people. These collection centers are located in all types of public places such as schools, neighbourhoods and stadiums.

The purpose of the placement of these recyclable materials collection centers in big public spaces is that as more people see this, more people are capable of getting concerned and involved in recycling, and with this, they are able to deposit their recyclable waste intelligently, easily and more often, additionally the different types of incentives and gifts that they get by helping are discounts or free Alen products, MONETARY REWARDS IN A CARD events for their children and all of this while getting the lucky view of a cleaner space. It is also necessary to say that even the materials that don’t have any usage for Alen but can get recycled, are also used by other companies that have agreements with the business.

This program obviously requires the constant contribution of citizens, the government and a lot of workers in the collecting centers, the transportation of the materials, and in the recycling plants in Monterrey, Nuevo León, and in Querétaro, Querétaro. By doing all of this, and helping the society through donations in certain charities or associations, the “AlEn Recycles” project has gotten the capacity to cooperate in the compliance of mainly the following SDGs: 9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure; 11. Sustainable Cities and Communities; 12. Responsible consumption and production; 14. Life below water; and 17. Partnerships for the goals.


Benefiting from Recycling

Inspiration

Nowadays we live in a country where recycling is not a big part of our lives but the big plastic consumption is, this can be changed step by step with programs and innovations such as this, every company can be involved with the concern for a better planet in their own way. In Alen, the material sourcing (specially for the packaging of the products) is the way that this company has been found most helpful for the environment.

María Elizabeth García has said “The recycling plant of AlEn has already been operating for 10 years. But the inspiration comes from the need to become a company that helps the environment and also generates its own products. Instead of buying the raw material, it was thought how to do all the process internally talking about recycling”. She then explained to us how this tough process started from the initiative of the owners and employees of AlEn, and so we realized that this inspiration comes from their personal experience and their interest.

AlEn has always been keen on having and respecting positive values such as sustainability and responsibility, which is why this company is so involved with the realization of this program and all of the programs that they help, showing that this concern for the environment and the community comes from every single member of AlEn.


Overall impact

The short term effects that “AlEn Recycles” has had throughout the years, is that “every day we have the raw material to produce the packaging” and in long term, “It makes us a socially responsible company and we are generating our own internal processes” as María Elizabeth García has said.

But the overall impact can be reflected firstly in the society, secondary in the environment and finally in the business. The proof of the impact of this project in society is that AlEn has an agreement with some local schools, with public spaces and more to be able to place their recycling collectors and it has worked, making the company able to even help associations by making donations, example of this is the donation of money received from bottle caps to associations such as “Amanec y Luchando por Ángeles Pequeños”, as it is specified in their website.

In the environment, it is highly important that the project focuses on the recycling of plastic, mainly PET bottles, and the positive effect in this topic can be reflected in the fact that the project has been running for over ten years and has recycled enough bottles to be able to continue by also helping the business, which can be reflected in their packaging that is also made from recycled material.


Business benefit

The company has taken advantage over its competitors with this program since today's population cares about the environment and therefore, due to the processes carried out by AlEn, and the excellent quality of the products, customers have preference in them. In addition there has been a reduction in production costs thanks to the recycling process, which gives value again to the plastic discharged and can also reduce the costs of transportation in the sourcing of raw materials as these are in a closer reach. A new market can be founded because of the recycling plants in Monterrey and Queretaro that on occasions don’t need all of the material being recycled and so can share it with other companies that do.

This has impacted on the profits that the company has and without a doubt, related to the social impact, the way employees of the company and some of the members of the community in Mexico in general are more concerned about recycling and things that can help the environment is thanks to “AlEn Recycles”.Thanks to this process, the expense of buying materials that could be brought from another country is avoided as mentioned before, so it is favorable for the company's costs; in the same way, the company benefits with the loyalty of their employees by having an impeccable reputation with this recycling process, as also a large number of jobs are generated within the country, since more people are needed for job titles such as transporters, separators and others.

And finally, thanks to this program recycled based, there have been new ways in which the company can benefit from recycling with its containers in schools, stadiums or places that are very crowded, where these can impact a large number of people, since the more they know about the program, the more they can support it, and as the company rewards them with some type of prize for contributing, it gains the preference of new customers.As the current problems of the environment are caused by the society, both the social and environmental benefits are strictly close to each other. The positive impact of this project that has been going on for more than 9 years in society is that by having collectors in various points of the country, for example in stadiums as María Elizabeth García said “I don’t know if you have seen in the stadiums, that is a little machine from AlEn, where you go and put your bottles”. And so the company facilitates recycling, which in Mexico is still difficult due to the few spots where people can actually deposit their trash separately. It also educates children in schools were the program participates, and the impact on them is that now they are able to know that if they bring a bottle of PET to recycle, AlEn will take care and recycle the bottle and turn it into a new one, making their action something bigger and giving them more conscience about the impact of a bottle. The same service can be found in certain colonies, people deposit their bottles of PET and AlEn recycles it. In exchange for the bottles obtained, AlEn provides people certain support in different kinds of benefits, such as company products, money, donations to associations, money in cards, organizing interesting and different kinds of events, etc. Providing then well being to society.

Another social benefit is that AlEn is one of the few companies that still produces work during the COVID-19 pandemic. In terms of this program, it generates work opportunities by keeping its activities active in spite of the reduction in the quantity of recycled materials due to the pandemic.

By recycling a material that has already been created, the company contributes by reusing this material and by also not creating more waste, if they lack of this type of materials they are even agree to buy recycled products from recycling focused suppliers so that they don't contribute to the creation of more and more waste as many companies do.

As the interviewee said, “The main problem with garbage is that it can reach the sea, but with this new program the garbage can be useful again to generate raw material to later become once again a final product”. So one of the environmental benefits is to help stop tons of bottles that end up destroying entire ecosystems by reaching bodies of water.

In other environmental benefits we can see how the trash from the streets and garbage cans can be reduced by incentivizing the use of these recycling spaces, and also by creating jobs for people who dedicate their time in collecting recyclable materials (we can see an example of a benefit for society and the environment here). In the past years the demand for recyclable materials has increased, which makes the world a place where that materials that were considered waste will no longer be, and will be used for new packaging instead of being thrown away in a forest or even the ocean as we have seen in the past.

Finally, it is pertinent to mention, that this program also allows the company to keep producing excellent goods in a sustainable way, which can also help contribute to the health of their consumers, for example, by cleaning private spaces or public areas such parks, schools, stadiums or playgrounds, action that now with COVID-19, is incredibly important.


Social and environmental benefit

As the current problems of the environment are caused by the society, both the social and environmental benefits are strictly close to each other. The positive impact of this project that has been going on for more than 9 years in society is that by having collectors in various points of the country, for example in stadiums as María Elizabeth García said “I don’t know if you have seen in the stadiums, that is a little machine from AlEn, where you go and put your bottles”. And so the company facilitates recycling, which in Mexico is still difficult due to the few spots where people can actually deposit their trash separately. It also educates children in schools were the program participates, and the impact on them is that now they are able to know that if they bring a bottle of PET to recycle, AlEn will take care and recycle the bottle and turn it into a new one, making their action something bigger and giving them more conscience about the impact of a bottle. The same service can be found in certain colonies, people deposit their bottles of PET and AlEn recycles it. In exchange for the bottles obtained, AlEn provides people certain support in different kinds of benefits, such as company products, money, donations to associations, money in cards, organizing interesting and different kinds of events, etc. Providing then well being to society. Another social benefit is that AlEn is one of the few companies that still produces work during this COVID-19 pandemic. In terms of this program, it generates work opportunities by keeping its activities active in spite of the reduction in the quantity of recycled materials due to the pandemic.

By recycling a material that has already been created, the company contributes by reusing this material and by also not creating more waste. If they lack this type of materials, they even agree to buy recycled products from recycling focused suppliers so that they don't contribute to the creation of more waste as many companies do. As the interviewee said: “The main problem with garbage is that it can reach the sea, but with this new program the garbage can be useful again to generate raw material to later become once again a final product”. So another environmental benefit is to help stop tons of bottles that end up destroying entire ecosystems by reaching bodies of water.

In other environmental benefits we can see how the trash from the streets and garbage cans can be reduced by incentivizing the use of these recycling spaces, and also by creating jobs for people who dedicate their time in collecting recyclable materials (we can see an example of a benefit for society and the environment here). In the past years the demand for recyclable materials has increased, which makes the world a place where that materials that were considered waste will no longer be, and will be used for new packaging instead of being thrown away in a forest or even the ocean as we have seen in the past.

Finally, it is pertinent to mention, that this program also allows the company to keep producing excellent goods in a sustainable way, which can also help contribute to the health of their consumers, for example, by cleaning private spaces or public areas such parks, schools, stadiums or playgrounds, action that now with COVID-19, is incredibly important.


Interview

Maria Elizabeth García Alejandro, Indirect materials Senior Negotiator, previously recyling negotiator

Photo of interviewee

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Grupo AlEn

Grupo AlEn

Monterrey, Nuevo León, MX

Business Website: https://www.grupoalen.com/es/

Year Founded: 1949

Number of Employees: 1001 to 5000

AlEn Group, a company founded in Monterrey, N. León, México, has contributed in the manufacturing of a variety of high quality products, which mainly are cleaning solutions for the household, as well as for the health and well being of their consumers and the ecosystem.