Sims Recycling Solutions’ Community Spotlight: J.J. Santos

Posted by on May 11, 2015

J.J.-SantosSims Recycling Solutions interviews a customer, partner or colleague within the field of recycling once a quarter. These interviews provide an opportunity to learn about the different aspects of recycling from an economic, environmental or social perspective. This issue profiles J.J. Santos, the WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) and International Business Director for Camacho Recycling in Spain.

When did you begin working with Camacho Recycling and what is your background? 

I began working for Camacho Recycling in 2011 and have a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics and an MBA in International Trade. I worked for 15 years in the logistics industry and first became involved with the recycling industry in 2008. I have been working with the take-back schemes for WEEE in Spain and as a member of the WEEE Forum’s CRT (cathode ray tube) working group since 2008. The WEEE Forum is a non-profit association with almost 40 members from 25 countries representing take-back schemes across the European Union. I am also an auditor of WEEE treatment facilities and a consultant to the Governments of Oman and Lebanon for the implementation of WEEE legislation in those countries.

>What types of services does Camacho Recycling provide?

Camacho Recycling is a family-owned company established in the late 1950s in Madrid, Spain. From the start it was a pioneering company in the field of glass reuse and over time has become a pioneering company in the glass recycling sector. We continually work to expand and diversify our activities in the glass sector and today we have the infrastructure, technology and qualified staff to allow us to treat more than 150,000 tons or 330 millions of pounds of glass waste per year.

We have the expertise to adapt recycling treatments and machinery for a variety of pre and post-consumer glass types. We recover post-consumer container glass and treat it so that it can be made into new containers. We additionally recover all types of flat glass generated through manufacturer production lines and consumer product recycling programs. Examples include automotive, mirror, laminated, monolithic and colored glass; glass coming from WEEE such as CRTs, LCDs and plasma screens; shelves from refrigerators; vitro ceramics (heat resistant glass); solar panels and more. We also have vehicles adapted for glass collection and more than 18,000 intelligent containers, georeferenced, with automated notification of the filling level. 

Last but not least, we are committed to quality, and maintain the ISO 9001:2008 Quality Certificate, ISO 14000:2008 Environmental Management Certificate, and the OSHAS 18001: 2007 Occupational Health and Safety Management System Certificate.

What is the company’s geographic service area?

Our geographic areas that ship input material are Europe, and North and South America. Output material is typically utilized in the same regions plus the Middle East, Far East and Africa. We are also starting conversations with some stakeholders in Australia, for both input and output materials.

What volume of glass can your facilities handle and are there plans to expand?

We currently have four facilities in Spain and enough capacity to cover our national and international needs, but are evaluating the possibility of expanding to other areas to be closer to our glass suppliers and customers. Our facilities are:

  • Caudete (Albacete) is 3.2 million square feet and can handle up to 419 million pounds of glass annually. It has 13 processing lines and a research, development and innovation laboratory.
  • San Vicente (Alicante) is 1.1 million square feet and the head office of the Camacho Group.
  • Murcia is 260,000 square feet.
  • Valencia is the administrative office for Camacho Group international imports and exports. It is close to the port of Valencia, one of the biggest European ports for commodities. 

What are some of the end products created from Camacho processed glass?

From our start as a glass bottle processor, we have successfully introduced recycled glass as a secondary raw material to many different sectors including vitreous tiling, handicraft, dripping, pavements, microspheres, Quartz compact, ceramics for floor, wall and roof tiles, and enamel for glazed tiles.

When did Camacho start incorporating CRT glass into its process and why?

As a member of the CRT working group for WEEELABEX, a WEEE management standard-setting and auditing project overseen by the WEEE Forum and co-financed by the European Commission, we realized that there was a gap between the excess of supply and environmental friendly solutions for CRT glass, especially CRT funnel glass due to its lead content. I also participated in another European Union project, ECOVITRUM during the same time (2010-12), which focused on the application of CRT glass in the ceramic sector. As a result, Camacho’s research, development and innovation laboratory began looking at new applications for CRT panel and funnel glass primarily in the ceramic sector. Ceramics production and the need for feedstock in Spain are huge, but demand also exists for feedstock in sectors related to the construction industry in Spain.

CRT glass currently represents about 7 percent of our production, but we are ready to grow this figure and have the capacity and facilities to increase this number to 25 percent. We are ready to invest in new lines, if the opportunity presents itself.

How has the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announcement proclaiming the use of CRT glass in Camacho’s process as legitimate recycling affected your business?

We had been discussing the CRT issue with Sims Recycling Solutions for almost two years, and it was only with the announcement from the EPA in 2014, that we could really start accepting shipments of CRT glass from the United States. It was important for us to work together with a big player in the WEEE sector like Sims and a priority for us to be introduced into a demanding market like the United States. The legitimization of our process by the EPA was a result of many conversations, meetings and paperwork. Without the help, support and cooperation of Sims, we would not have succeeded in this goal. We have been contacted by other recyclers and even some U.S. glass processors with huge amounts of CRT glass stockpiled wishing to send us their material. We are proud and willing to contribute an environmentally sound solution for the large volumes of CRT glass being generated in the United States.
Where do you like to vacation? What do you like to do in your free time?

In some ways, I feel like I’m on vacation the whole year because I live in Valencia, just beside the beach with an average temperature of 54ºF and, moreover, I like my work. Although I spend a lot of my time traveling, I like to take my wife and daughter for a leisure cruise in the summer and spend the rest of my holidays in a small village in the mountains where my family has a home. I love spending time with my family, cycling and reading. My preferences in books are related to personal development. I am currently reading again the book Unlimited Power by Anthony Robbins which helps me on a daily basis.

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