Entrepreneurs in Mexico have designed and developed a novel machine which can convert recycled styrofoam into rigid plastic pellets with a 97% conversion rate, which can then be used to manufacture plastic products.
Hector Ortiz, the founder of Rennueva, has developed the Reps-01 recycling machine to address the massive garbage issues that affect the ecology of Mexico. Every year, the country produces 60,000 tons of Styrofoam - so there is plenty of affordable starting material which could be utilized.
95% of the volume of Styrofoam just air - so the actual polystyrene takes up comparitively little space when the material is compressed. The method developed by Rennueva involves crushing and compressing the Styrofoam, then heating it until it plasticizes to form rigid plates. This process is called thermodensification. The plates are the cooled and cut into pellets to be reused.
Rennueva has so far manufactured three machines, of which one has been acquired by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation of Mexico City (Seciti). A private company has acquired the other two machines for use in landfills in the Quintana Roo and Yucatan states.
Rennueva has entered into a collaboration with the Center for Advanced Technology in Queretaro to produce around 12-18 production units before the end of 2015.
Mexico does not have an existing collecting program for waste styrofoam - for now, Rennueva has partnered with the food packaging company Dart Mexico, to provide the waste Styrofoam for the project.
The first Reps-01 recycling machine cost $25,000 to build, for which the company used its own funds along with aid from angel investors.