In Mexico City, nearly five million cars take to the streets each day.
That’s a lot of road wear in a city known for some of the worst traffic in the world. And every worn tire eventually ends up as trash, industrial litter marring urban landscapes and overflowing dumps.
But one company – Granutec – has found opportunity amid this unwanted abundance by transforming used tires into a renewable waterproofing product.
“Nothing from the tires goes to waste,” explained Granutec Manager Olga Alvarez.
“One 20 liter tub of our waterproofing represents one-and-a-half used tires that have been taken off the streets. Tire dumping is a big problem throughout Mexico, and we are helping the environment with our business.”
Located in an industrial district of the capital, Granutec recycles 120 tons of used tires per month, all collected from the city’s streets.
Industry experts estimate as many as 50 tires are thrown away every minute in Mexico, equal to 40 million tons a year. And with a single tire taking hundreds of years to decompose, businesses like Granutec are addressing a growing problem.
Using custom-built machines made in China, the tires are ground into a fine powder, which is then mixed with resins made from used engine oils.
It’s a Granutec ‘family recipe’ for a waterproof sealant that’s gained a loyal following among builders.
“It’s a great product,” said David Montes, a building site engineer. “It’s highly versatile and is an excellent sealant. It’s cheaper than similar products on the market, and lets us help the environment.”
With the family business now under the management of a fourth generation, sisters Olga and Dulce have big plans.
“We eventually want to install a factory in every state in Mexico,” Dulce said. “There are other businesses doing similar work as us, but we are few compared to the size of the problem, and we’d love to see more interest in the project.”
The young entrepreneurs say the expansion of their eco-friendly business will not only help their bottom line, but will help clean the environment and restore pride in local communities nationwide.