Making Better Use of Plastic

Uruplast

12. Responsible Consumption and Production 13. Climate Action 14. Life Below Water

Overview

Plastic has represented an economical and productive solution for companies worldwide because of its simple production and distribution. Despite its operative benefits, plastic has become an environmental problem as most plastics are used for single-use packaging and take hundreds of years to decompose. Each year, seas and oceans receive up to 12 million tons of plastic garbage. In the North Pacific, there is a vast area of ​​the ocean full of waste. It is known as the island of garbage or the continent of plastic.

Uruplast is a company committed to the responsible use of resources, that aims to create a circular economy of the plastic boxes used in the agri-food industry in Michoacán, México, creating a product made of virgin and recycled plastic.

Authors

Maria Rocio Estrella Reyes

Maria Rocio Estrella Reyes

Sabino Eduardo Conejo Camacho

Sabino Eduardo Conejo Camacho

School

Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (ITESM)

Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (ITESM)

Professor

Lilia Patricia López

Lilia Patricia López

Innovation

The founder of Uruplast, Luis Reyes, started recycling plastic in 2012 with his first company Ecoplastic. He began collecting bottles, bags, and these plastic boxes used in the agri-food industry, sorting them, crushing them, and selling them as raw material to bigger recyclers. The idea of creating his own product came when he collected the broken boxes and saw where the fractures were, he realized he could create an improved mold and decided to enter the market. Reyes' focus was “The heart of the project is the innovation in the mold design as a result of years of observation and lots of tests to make the body of the box robust so it doesn't break easily and will have a longer lifetime”

The mold design of the boxes is now patented, its unique design delivers the highest quality above the competition, even with recycled materials.

Making Better Use of Plastic

Inspiration

Reyes mentioned, “The concern comes while working in the accountability department of another plastics company, I observed the amount of virgin material bought for the manufacturing process and thought it would be important to generate a business that is not only profitable but sustainable and socially responsible."

Inspired by reducing the environmental impact of plastic in the world, and knowing that Michoacán is a state with a lot of agri-food activity that uses lots of plastic boxes for the hauling and transportation of the products, he decided to create Uruplast in 2019.

Overall impact

Uruplast manufactures boxes from both plastics from virgin and recycled materials. However, the company tries to close the production chain, creating a virtuous circle called the circular economy. In the case of the box, that is made of virgin material, first, it's sold, then it fulfills its function, it breaks, and returns as recycled raw material for a new production cycle. This practice benefits the economy by reducing inputs costs and also avoids waste because even when the products have done their job, they can be re-processed and used again, Reyes states, “This process can also be replicated in other industries, since it can be used for the creation of buckets, baskets, among other products."

Business benefit

Uruplast has an improved patented mold, which guarantees a longer lifetime compared to other plastic box suppliers. A result of this is a competitive advantage for the company and high demand for their product in the market. Since the great quality and lifetime of their boxes, its clients benefit from the minimization of costs derived from a decrease of purchases, also their broken boxes are purchased by Uruplast at the end of their life span as recycled raw materials.

Also, a box made of recycled raw material resembles in 80% quality a box made of virgin materials and offers customers savings of 40%, which allows smaller businesses to be competitive in the aggressive agricultural market.

Social and environmental benefit

The impact that this company has on society is primarily the formalization of the recycling business since it has given the opportunity for more persons to generate an income as plastic collectors and recyclers.

Regarding the environmental impact, the company helps remove plastic wastes from streets and prevents them from being burned or ending up contaminating bodies of water, giving them a second purpose. It also avoids natural resource excessive exploitation and pollution caused by chemicals used in the production of virgin materials, keeping the plastic in use, and promoting a circular economy.

Interview

Luis Reyes Soto, Founder

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Uruplast

Uruplast

Uruapan, Michoacan, MX

Business Website: https://uruplast.com.mx/

Year Founded: 2019

Number of Employees: 2 to 10

A company dedicated to the manufacture of great quality plastic boxes for the agricultural industry, that ensure the integrity of the fruits and vegetables.