Tatiana Sanabria reports for El Deber:
Pioneers in the manufacture of ecological wood
IDEA: The Madec company has been three years in the national market, manufacturing wood out of rice shell and recycled plastic. It is the first industry of its kind in South America.
Innovative, practical, durable and environmentally-friendly. So is the ecological wood which manufactures the Santa Cruz company Madec, combining organic fibers and recycled plastic to obtain a product similar to natural wood, in appearance, strength and functionality.
The material used is a compound of sawdust, rice shell, husk of sunflower and plastic, as well as having a texture and consistency similar to the wood, is an alternative for the construction business.
The idea of developing this type of wood in 2009 came with the concern to give value added to plastic, through new technologies. After conducting market studies and see the need to create a substitute for wood, searched for machinery suppliers and, finally, launched the product in the domestic market in 2011.
“We are a pioneer in the development of eco-wood industry in South America. There are similar experiences in small artisan businesses in Brazil and Colombia, but we differ in the use of 60% of organic fiber and 40% of plastic, giving greater similarity with the properties of natural wood,” says Eduardo Díaz, President of Madec.
This technology was developed experimentally in the United States, Canada and Europe for 30 years and was consolidated in other countries five years ago, and came to Bolivia with great acceptance.
Ecological wood which manufactures Madec, is characterized by shades similar to natural wood, its resistance to humidity and water, because it is non-slip and without cracks, it has low maintenance and easy to install and its weatherproof and resistant to termites, fungi, and insects.
Because of the qualities of its components, it can be cut, sand, screw and nail its parts as any other type of wood, as explained by Édgar Menacho, Chief of operations of the company.
“It has good qualities, especially for its low environmental impact, but also it is an innovative product that recently is being known in the market and we see that customers are satisfied”, adds.
Due to its versatility, this material can be used in furniture, flooring, doors, false ceiling and tools. However, the Madec company is distinguished by the production of doors with frame, flooring, pallets, rods for benches, pillars, beams and baseboards.
Collection and production
The rice shell is gathered by the communities of Montero, Yapacaní and Puertachuelo, where rice production is concentrated. According to Diaz, this residue does not degrade easily and also has no other use, rather than as beds for farms and stables, because it does not serve as food for animals.
The plastic is collected from waste packaging used by the agro-industry, which before were buried and burned, because they could not be reused, because it is a toxic waste for the health.
Once raw material is gathered, the process begins with the grinding of the rice shell, until is pulverized. It is then mixed with plastic and other chemicals such as lubricants and dyes, additives, which facilitate both materials to be attached.
After each piece is mold and cut, the ones responsible for distribution are local hardware stores and construction companies.
“We have visited Madec’s facilities and were surprised by the type of product they are creating, because they allow to maintain the custom of using wood, but sustainably, with recycled materials”, says Mariano Egüez, national coordinator of Green Building Bolivia, an organization that promotes the concept of sustainable construction, using resources efficiently.
The production capacity of this company is currently 300 tons per month, enough to meet the demand in Santa Cruz, and some specific orders from La Paz and Cochabamba, but not enough to reach foreign markets, despite having recurring orders from Chile, Brazil, Ecuador, Peru and Argentina.
“We first want to meet the demand in Bolivia, so we are in the process of search for partners who want to enter to sell shares and buy more machinery. We have enough demand for all parties, but we lack capacity”, says the Manager of Madec.
The demand for this product also responds to its competitive prices. For example, a door of tajibo costs Bs2,100, while ecological wood doors are offered between Bs700 and Bs1,500, depending on size and style.
Menacho ensures that, in addition to the affordable prices, this product is a solution to the problem of the shortage of timber in the country, to the indiscriminate felling of forests and the sale of illegal timber coming from the Bolivian East.
This company aims to be the spearhead in the ecological construction, because it offers a product which, in addition to being demanded in the overseas market for its quality and usefulness, is based on policies of recycling and preservation of the environment.
I welcome Madec to The Hall of Bolivian Fame!! We, the advocates of sustainable way-of-living are so happy to see such a company, and is OURS!!!