By Writing Team
Posted in July 24, 2023
Research and development areas develop products for construction and organic fertilizer from industrial discards
By Carmen Nery – For Valor, from Rio
Technology, innovation, and sustainability are the focus of waste reuse initiatives. Problems from various sectors end up becoming solutions created by research, development, and innovation departments of other companies. For example, a demand from the pharmaceutical and cellulose sectors to prevent collagen capsules from unused medicines from ending up incinerated or in landfills turned into the Sustainable Biocapsules project – Transforming Waste into Trees by Ambipar. The capsules now receive native plant seeds and composted biomass from the cellulose industries and are remotely launched by drones for tree cultivation in remote or difficult-to-access areas.
“The advantage is the higher germination rate, as the capsule serves as a three-in-one: it protects the seed from sun and insects, nourishes the seed with organic matter, and collagen provides macro and micronutrients essential for the germination process,” says Gabriel Estevam, head of innovation at Ambipar Group. “We have high-capacity drones that cover almost one hectare per flight, and an automatic system that prepares nearly 30 thousand biocapsules per day. We have already placed more than 1.5 million biocapsules in various biomes.”
Paper and cellulose waste from Bracell, International Paper, Klabin, and CMPC are also reused by Ambipar, transformed into the soil conditioner called Ecosolo. The product improves water retention in the soil, promotes the development of microorganisms, and increases the productivity of crops such as soybeans, corn, and vegetables, encouraging regenerative agriculture.
“Ecosolo is a large-scale organic fertilizer. In the Klabin Puma project plant in Paraná alone, we already produce more than 200 thousand tons of Ecosolo per year. We also produce floors with recycled inorganic material,” says Estevam.
Promaflex created a project based on composting polyurethane and aluminum, waste from the production of thermal insulation for roofs. “The waste consists of scraps acquired by Ibaplac, a sustainable tile manufacturer, which uses the scrap to produce corner pieces,” says Paulo Lisboa, responsible for innovation management at Promaflex.
The Águas do Brasil group develops projects with companies, cooperatives, and institutions to transform sewage treatment sludge into organic fertilizer, construction material, and other alternatives to landfill disposal. “Ideally, we should do this composting in our facilities, such as in Águas de Juturnaíba [Araruama, RJ], which utilizes 100% of the sludge. The difficulty is that, often, the plant is far away, implying fossil fuel consumption in transportation, which does not make sense [in terms of sustainability],” says Marilene Ramos, director of institutional relations and sustainability.