Mexico Energy and Sustainability Review 2016 talks to: Victor Pagaza, Director General of a3p
One of modern society’s most ubiquitous and problematic sources of waste is tires, due their durability, ecologically problematic components, and the large volume produced. It is estimated that 1.5 billion tires are discarded each year worldwide. This shocking figure inspired Victor Pagaza, Director General of a3p to start a business focusing on recycling used tires. “The company operates within a brutal market and the figures reflect it, “In the state of California in the US 180 million tires are thrown away per year and in Texas over 36 million. In Mexico the figure is not as steep, but it is equally shocking: 40 million tires are discarded annually.”
According to Pagaza, for a time it was difficult for people to grasp the concept of sustainability and the market could not sustain the businesses, “so it was common to see the opening and closing of recycling factories. For a while the government and public paid no heed to recycling, but when news spread about the impact of climate change and the inconspicuous consumption of today’s society, we saw a change of mindset.” A3p has found unique ways of recycling tires and the most common application is waterproof materials, which has become part of a3p’s core business. “The company has ties with universities and undergraduate students help design and create new applications and products,” he adds.
Despite the unique ways a3p recycled the tires, these barely scratched the surface of those 40 million tires. As a result, it looked for products that could recycle tires on a mass scale and this led to the waterproof materials. “There are many commercial businesses and houses that require waterproofing systems and our product is an ideal solution,” Pagaza explains. One of the company’s flagship projects is with McDonald’s, where it waterproofed 80 of its restaurant. “In fact in the early stages it was so impressed by the products that it wanted us to waterproof all the restaurants from Mexico’s Rio Bravo to the tip of Argentina. Unfortunately, we did not have the capacity, yet we developed a successful relationship and success story,” he boasts. A3p has worked to acquire other large clients; however it has encountered a major barrier which is payment times that do not suit the financial needs of the company. “For instance, Walmart pays every 120 days. It is difficult for SMEs to establish commercial ties and become suppliers to these large companies because of this,” he laments. Pagaza remains undeterred, the company has many ambitions and one of them is to open its own distribution store, which will serve as an environmental-friendly supermarket that offers only green and recycled products.