That tube that you try to squeeze all month long so as not to waste even a gram of toothpaste can yield much more. The packaging, that takes up to 450 years to decompose, is raw material for cabinets, tables, benches, trash cans, glasses frames, tiles and various other products.
In São Paulo, three companies work with this kind of recycling: Ecofour, in Santo André, Ecotop, in Barueri, and Metagreen, in Santa Bárbara d’Oeste.
In addition to contributing to the environment, the material has advantages over conventional ones, such as more flexibility and fire resistance, non-absorption of water and it is a good thermal insulator.
The construction industry was the first to be interested in the attractions. The product is maily used in tiles. But recently the plates have gained special atention for furniture and fixtures manufacturing.
Recycling is accomplished by grinding the tubes and then melting the material until the plates form. The advantage over pure plastic is the presence of aluminium, which gives more flexibility to the final material and allows the use of screws, for example.