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Research and social commitment

Federico is an engineer who decided to devote himself to a topic that can be of great help: recycling plastic to build.

With his thesis in Engineering, Federico Ortiz showed that the streets, houses and buildings could be done taking advantage of plastic waste. It was not bad  for him, because today he is a scholarship from CONICET  to obtain a  doctorate  on this subject. The plus of its task is to help a very violated social sector, such as people who live from collecting garbage.

When this santafesino “came up” (quotes are because scientific research is much more complex than that) the idea that  asphalt can be replaced by plastic , many looked at it as if he was crazy. At the same time, he was a member of the Movement of Excluded Workers (MTE), of which the cartoneros de Santa Fe participate. Knowing their reality mobilized him to do something for them. The germ of everything was to imagine that the garbage that these people put together could have a value. In turn, of course, their work would contribute to  environmental awareness . This is key because, at present, in Santa Fe there is very little that is used for recycling, the huge amount of waste that is generated.

 A positive vicious circle 

Federico's research presents a very interesting feedback situation. Plastic waste can be redeitable, which would result in  less trash circulating . The existence of microdusts, which are very common in Santa Fe neighbourhoods, would be largely combated.

To make the “plastic bricks”, Federico first took care of recycling: washing and crushing the plastic in a mill. For materials used crushed polyethylene terephthalate ( PET ) bottles, because it is plastic that has the greatest strength, especially if you aim at the construction of whole buildings. That mixture Federico devised was then brought to the ponedora bloquera, which shaped the materials

If bricks consume  a lot of the plastic that people dispose of, even more would be paving stones for laying on streets, which are made only of sand and recycled plastic. The amount of waste Federico used for paving stones was at least three times that of concrete blocks. The reason is simple: plastics no longer replace a percentage of sand, but occupy the place of cement. Plastic melts and works as a binder, that is, it  performs the function of cement , which has harmful properties to the environment.

 Get to work 

The researcher was building paving stones in a homemade way, together with his friends cartoneros, today they are close to form a  coop  it isnecessarythat they enter into tender to sell the parts to the State, and the latter constructs sidewalks  and also streets. Thus, in addition to betting on environmental care, work can be generated in  a forgotten sector of society. 

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