Mexico City’s Azcapotzalco Transfer Station and Sorting Plant has officially opened its doors July 25 in an event that was attended by political leaders from around the region. With this facility, Mexico City’s government is moving toward correctly treating urban waste based on a circular economy concept.
Altshausen, Germany-based Stadler supplied the technology for the Azcapotzalco Transfer Station and Sorting Plant.
“We would like to thank Mexico City for allowing us to give our contribution and take part in the great challenge of reducing waste in Mexico City, one of the most populated megacities in the world, where more than 12,000 tons of waste are generated every day,” says Natalya Duarte, sales director for Mexico at Stadler.
According to a news release from Stadler, this plant is Mexico’s first government-owned automated plant for separation and treatment of municipal solid waste (MSW). The 11,000-square-meter facility sorts mixed paper, old corrugated containers (OCC), multilayer packaging, polyethylene terephthalate (PET), high-density polyethylene (HDPE), plastic bags, films, aluminum cans, metallized bags, textiles, glass and other metal scrap. The plant was commissioned in May and operates in conjunction with a transfer station to process about 1,000 tons per day of scrap from the municipalities of Cuauhtémoc, Gustavo A. Madero, Miguel Hidalgo and Azcapotzalco, and will be able to receive up to 1,400 metric tons of scrap per day. The facility provides 404 jobs for the community.
Pro Ambiente, a subsidiary of Cemex, manages the facility. Pro Ambiente has more than 25 years of experience in waste management and in operating plants for the selection and recovery of waste-derived fuels.
“We are proud to participate in this new project, which is in line with our sustainability and emission reduction objectives,” says José Guillermo Díaz, Cemex’s manager of technology and alternative fuels. “We are prepared to operate this plant under a model that guarantees, first and foremost, the safety of all our employees, operational continuity through maintenance and production programs with international standards and sorting quality to ensure a greater use of the waste generated in Mexico City.”
The use of mechanical treatment between transfer and final disposal was a fundamental and natural first step in the zero-waste management program of Mexico City’s current administration, Stadler reports. The objective was to capture and sort all recyclable packaging within the transfer station itself.
According to Stadler, the company has been involved in four major recycling projects in Mexico, including this one in Azcapotzalco.
Duarte adds that the Azcapotzalco plant is special for several reasons. She says the innovative sorting technology enables the plant to move from a manual sorting process to an automatic sorting process to ensure higher recovery efficiency and material purity. She says the process also is professionalized and industrialized.
“Stadler’s innovative sorting technology makes sense both in terms of the efficiency achieved in the recovery process and the high degree of purity of the materials obtained,” Duarte says. “It professionalizes and industrializes this waste management process, providing working conditions for manual sorters that are comparable to those of any first-world plant.
She continues, “It is worth noting that automation does not displace human resources. It is possible to achieve a perfect balance between the two, which is key for the Mexican market. We clearly showed that it is so in this project in Mexico City, where the balance between technology and human resources improves the numbers from a public administration point of view and optimizes the operational cost of this type of recycling plant.”