Waste Recovering System
Benito Juarez Borough, Mexico City

Tecnologico de Monterrey, Queretaro

Designers:

Victor Martínez
Pablo Herrera
Azucena Muñoz
Maria Madgalena Gonzalez
Manuel Amaro
Sandra Portillo
Michaela Stachova
Salvador Guerrero
Juan Herrera
Daniel Gayosso
Alejandra de la Cerda
Pedro Diaz
Diego Stehle
Gabriela Morales
Jessica Zepeda
Tania Muñoz
Fabiola Lezama
Ricardo Suarez
Salvador Soto
Benjamín Valencia

INTRODUCTION:
Mexico City is one of the most populated cities in the world, just thinking about the numbers of people, cars, cell phones and waste is overwhelming.
The Benito Juarez borough of Mexico City approached to us to ask for a better system for recollecting and using the waste produced in houses and offices.

We had 650,000 tons of daily (just Benito Juarez) opportunities of improvement and politics, citizens, bad working conditions and a union to deal with. We started thinking in a systemic way, dividing the group in small teams working in independent projects but with a project manager for each one of them, so all teams were unified in a well orchestrated solution.
We ended up with the design of different products (street containers, trucks, biogas plant among many other things), services and a whole new system, in which nothing ends in a landfill, since that was our objective.

FORM:
We care a lot that every product made for this system fulfills the hard working conditions as well as having a unique, modern appearance for the city. You can see a well organized system, with responsible environmental and social concerns.

The citizens gain a better service of waste recollection and cleaner streets, plus the pride of having a modern efficient city. Workers get better tools to work with, long-lasting, safe and designed specific for them in terms of function and ergonomics.

Simple colors and forms, generous radius and gentile curves give us a strong and clear communication of the contemporary and green philosophy the entire city slowly is gaining.

IMPACT:
The first strong impact is to the daily life of the citizens, they get an efficient service and a clean city, but goes much more beyond, also improving the life and environmental conditions of all the places and people where the raw materials come from and end up to; these are forest, mines and water sources.

We hope that this system can be adapted and used in other cities around the world. The constant and growing need of resources for mankind’s consumerism is devastating our planet, we must change completely our way of seeing this from useless waste to valuable resources part of the cycle all natural systems have.

CONTEXT:
The context nowadays is the result of improvisation and manipulation from some of their participants. Some workers don’t get any official pay by the government and neither have social security. Citizens often don’t have a place to leave the waste and they improvise illegal dumpers in parks or streets, is not fault of the citizens, is just a non designed malfunctioning system.

These illegal dumpers create a terrible visual and environmental pollution, attracting pests that spread diseases. And as said before, practically all materials end up in a landfill. So the benefits are for all, with this new system all waste is reused and reprocessed, which creates an income to the government that is used to sustain the system itself. Citizens don’t have to hide or pay fines when getting rid of their waste and workers have much better working conditions.

Another important issue is that all equipment is thought to be developed locally, which increases efficiency and reduces costs.

From 650,000 daily tons of waste almost everything ends up in a land fill, this is not just about pollution, it is also about natural resources depletion, finite raw materials that will never be used again, this is one of the most unhealthy, inefficient and wasteful systems and is affecting more than 20 million people, just in Mexico City.

Everything starts at home, people already separate organic and inorganic waste, we just wanted to give them a very simple and efficient solution hiding the waste in the kitchen furniture and using the supermarket bags as they are used to do. The citizen takes out the waste to a street container that is fixed to the floor, there are two different colors: one for organic other for inorganic. Very early in the morning comes the sweeper, unlocks one of the containers and he uses it to clean the streets and takes it back to the docking area when he finishes.

Later, a 3 ton truck recollects the organic waste; this truck has a special container with milling cylinders to begin the decomposing process, this truck takes the waste to a biogas plant, there is produced and stored the gas needed to move the trucks fleet. The residual of the biogas production is taken into a composting farm, were the waste is mixed with a special type of worm that produces humus which is enriched compost.

Back to the street containers, a 5 ton truck comes to pick up the inorganic waste. This part has an important issue, nowadays the government has special trucks that compress the waste in order to fit more inside, these trucks are very expensive to buy and maintain, and we found out that these trucks never get filled over ¼ of their capacity. This is due to the fact that they download the truck very often and that the plastic, metal, cardboard and paper are separated when picked up and stored outside the truck in improvised and dangerous ways, so we decided to use an inexpensive regular truck and design a special working area inside to separate the waste during transfers.

This separated waste is sold to recyclers and the rest of the waste that is impossible to separate and recycle is used to create different products by hot-compressing methods. These products (chairs, tables, etc.) are sold to the general public.

With all the income in the different stages our goal is to provide better working conditions and pay the maintenance of the whole systems, we have done raw calculations and turns out to be a very good business and feasible system. We are hoping to capture the city’s authorities attention to put this system to practice.

Known drawbacks of design:
We don’t think there are drawbacks, the system is adaptable and could work by steps, so no enormous first investment is needed and can always change to better fit the community needs.

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01/10/2009
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