They began by reusing small format paper which was impossible to process in the big machinery destined to imprinting newspapers. Then, the idea arose to creatively reuse those materials that were usually sold to the raw materials enterprise, main manager of recycling in Cuba.
Afterwards, a whole line of office materials, agendas, working plans formats, postcards, markers, notebooks or phonebooks, presentation cards and even calendars… alternatives from the entity, devoted to the imprinting of books and pamphlets since the 80´s.
“Our enterprise had enough vision and, before the beginning of the paper crisis in our country, the entity formed us taking into consideration the experiences from the “Special Period”. Take me as example, – states Ana María Méndez, binder worker- I became a technician in graphic arts, so well prepared that now I teach my co workers in binding.”
Ana María would have been one of the tens of workers who, without the initiative of creating a Specialties Workshop, would have lost her position. 22 people, 21 females and a male in charge of the repair work to the machinery, transportation of paper trims and guillotining, work there. In this way the Enterprise also created a source of income.
“We used to sell our surplus every month, between 6 and ten tons of paper and cardboard to the raw materials enterprise in Cienfuegos. We got 600 Cuban pesos from that transaction. After reusing the materials and putting them back to productive processes we multiplied the incomes by ten”, assures Hedí Román, General Director of the Polygraphist Enterprise.
The advantages of recycling.
Cuba saved about 4 million dollars by recycling nearly 27 000 tons of paper and cardboard in 2009, according to reports from the Union of Raw Material Recovery Enterprises. This year they intend to recycle 43 000 tons; among the strategies to make it, it has been announced the payment of up to 1.50 pesos (0.06 convertible pesos) per each kilogram of paper taken to the collection centers in the whole country. All aof it destined to recycling.
Yet, isn´t it a lot more rational to use even the smallest fragment before sending it to the recycling packs? The following data foster reflection.
To produce some tons of paper using raw cellulose 2.400 kilograms of wood, 200 000 liters of water and about 7.000 kilowatts of power are required; to obtain the same amount from recovered paper, old paper, a hundred times les water (2000 liters) and a third of the energy (2.500 kilowatts) are needed. Taking afore mentioned figures to the extreme, if half of the used paper was recycled, 8 million hectares of forest would be saved every year, 73% of pollution would be avoided and energy savings would reach 60%.
Remains of ink from the cleaning of four-color machinery where the models are imprinted, pieces of cardboard used as separators in paper stocks are turned into covers for agendas or original decorative designs… even the paper reels covers turn into envelopes.
To achieve this, innovators like Carlos Marán have recovered old mechanisms and managed to build a small workshop destined to these productions.
“The die- caster is taking a proof period, which will enable us to install another line of products such as small reservoirs; a foliating device and another one that will facilitate the eyeing of notebooks, new assembly lines in the enterprise”, assured Production Manager Arturo Mancebo.
All following the lead of creativity and efficiency, it started by the middle of last year, a road towards saving keeping in mind that if there are any remains, those are not necessarily garbage, they are to be taken to recycling.