The chemical Dow had announced the closure of its plant in San Lorenzo, a decision reversed after union mobilizations and tiring negotiations with the Santa Fe and national governments. Now, it announces a new productive segment, with an ecological stamp: together with the Asociación de Cooperativas Argentinas (ACA), the multinational began to produce a new resin from recycled plastic waste from silobags. They announced it as a contribution to a circular economy, which takes advantage of waste for new uses and reduces environmental pollution. It will not be manufactured in the complex that was going to close, but in Cañada de Gómez.
The company thus regains prominence after withdrawing the closure announcement in the city of Santa Fe and reiterating to the national government its “commitment to the country.”
The material that will be produced is elaborated in the plant that the Association of Argentine Cooperatives owns in Cañada de Gómez, and will supply the local and regional market. Argentina is the world’s largest manufacturer of silobags, which have a useful life of up to two years and are then incinerated or buried, generating a major environmental problem: between 7 thousand and 10 thousand tons of plastic are discarded each year due to this storage method massively adopted by agricultural producers for its low cost.
The resin is part of the commitments that Dow declares to encourage mechanical recycling, which helps, says the company, to close the gaps to complete the cycle of plastics in a sustainable way.
“Dow’s experience in materials science and application development capabilities in combination with ACA’s technology and experience for post-consumer material recovery allow the material to be processed to obtain a high-value resin,” said Martín Bianchi, Dow sustainability manager for the southern region of Latin America.
At the beginning of August of this year, Dow announced its decision to close the Puerto San Martín plant, keeping only the one it has in the Buenos Aires town of Bahía Blanca.
Two months later, the National Commission for the Defense of Competition (CNDC) ordered Dow not to innovate, not alter or modify the productive assets of San Lorenzo, in the framework of an investigation opened for alleged abuse of a dominant position by the company. firm.
A week later, the president of the petrochemical company, Javier Constante, announced the decision to keep the Santa Fe plant active, after a meeting he held with the Minister of Productive Development, Matías Kulfas, and the governor of that province, Omar Perotti, and reaffirmed “the company’s commitment to Argentina.”
Dow’s new agreement with ACA “is in line with the new sustainability goals recently announced by the petrochemical company for 2030,” the company reported.
Through this new commitment “and other direct actions or through alliances, Dow will help eliminate one million tons of plastics from the environment”, follows the text of the firm, in which it is positioned as a benchmark for environmental care: “Successful implementation of a circular economy will only be possible through collaboration between industry, consumers, NGOs and the Government ”.
The problem with silobags
The field has its own problems in the disposal of solid waste and contamination of land due to the use of plastics in the production of silobags.
It is the main mode of storage of grains and forages because it is low cost and safe. The other side is that it is also the main plastic waste generated by the sector.
Argentina is today the world’s largest producer of silobags. Per year, between 7,000 and 10,000 tons of this material are discarded from the tubes to store cereal, made up of between three and five layers of plastic and with a length ranging from 60 to 75 meters, by almost three high.
These are single-use storage, because the grain extraction mechanism is considered destructive. Its average lifespan is up to two years. Then they are cremated or buried.
Dow is not alone in its attempt to recycle silobags. There are several companies in the country that try to recover to reuse the material in the manufacture of waste bags or construction of buckets and polyethylene films for insulating use. There are even projects for the textile industry.