2017 Winners

ROCAPET. Sustainable Structural Concrete

We go to the store, buy water or soda, and then when we're done we just throw the bottle away, and that's it. One disposable container is no big deal ... but what about a hundred million? Each year, consumer studies agree, every Mexican throws away more than 7 kilograms of empty bottles, which together generate more than 780,000 tons annually.



Mexico is the largest consumer of plastic in the world, and the vast majority of those containers used in the industry are flexible, durable and often clear material, called PET (polyethylene terephthalate). Our consumption of bottled drinks continues to grow despite campaigns against them; since not even 20 percent of them are recycled, nearly all of it goes to waste: landfills, streets, open dumpsites, beaches, empty lots, rivers and seas. Of all the solid waste that we throw away, 30 percent is PET, a material that takes from 100 to 1,000 years to decompose.


In addition, those plastics are carried by rain currents and end up in rivers and seas, where they also release their components (dioxins and aphthalates), affecting the health and stability of vulnerable species.


Each year, more than 8 million tons of plastic are dumped into the oceans, the equivalent of pouring a dump truck full of plastic every minute (UNEP, 2017). The exploitation of sand and gravel is also carried out worldwide, representing the largest volume of extraction of solid materials worldwide. These raw materials are the most consumed on the planet, after water. Formed from erosion processes that require thousands of years, they are currently exploited much faster than they can be regenerated. The exploitation also affects biodiversity, water clouding, erosion of the earth's crust, groundwater levels, the landscape and climate through carbon dioxide emissions from transportation, as it is obtained by destructive or polluting processes under the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).


UNEP says that to mitigate the problems, we should: 1. reduce the consumption of sand or gravel, 2. Levy taxes on the extraction of sand and gravel to encourage the use of economically viable alternatives, and 3. reduce the negative impact of extraction.


ROCAPET reuses PET as coarse aggregate in a small ratio to sand, to create sustainable structural concrete, mitigating the quantity of post-consumer PET in tons per year and preserving a nonrenewable natural resource (gravel), by creating a concrete that meets Mexican and U.S. standards, more economical with a lower weight by volume, durable, with compressive strength of concrete F'c = 150 at 350 kg / cm2, a Modulus of Rupture 41 at 52 kg / cm2, not affected by high solar temperatures and making a significant contribution to environmentally sustainable development.



Since this is not only sustainable but also structural concrete (class 1 quality concrete meeting the strict specifications of building regulations), it may be used in important buildings such as schools, theaters, public buildings, libraries, movie theaters, shopping centers and road paving. Since the PET takes so long to decompose, and there will be an increasing supply of containers, its degradation is increasingly difficult. However, considering that it is always preferable to make constructions durable, this PET plastic becomes advantageous and beneficial as sustainable and durable building materials.


To attain full collection, it is necessary to change attitudes toward the problem of the unsound management of solid waste, poverty and exclusion faced by families who work as recyclers. The economic, social and environmental inclusion of recyclers is important for the project's social impact. With regard to these issues of increased PET and the lack of rock-based materials, ROCAPET is the hybrid car of the construction industry, combining conventional technology with innovation to get ahead of the shortage of materials. We want to be like TESLA, which broke the paradigms of fast, autonomous electric vehicles, but focused on the construction industry, using innovative technologies to build new concrete with a sustainable approach.


ROCAPET seeks to be the a leader in the use of innovative materials in the construction industry, as there are still lines of research open to support sustainable development. This project meets the three main commitments as a sustainable, social and ecologically responsible enterprise.


An analysis of the diagnostic data takes account of the critical points of focus, covering six fundamental phases that will provide a comprehensive solution throughout the organization:

Reducing gravel in concrete manufacturing.

Mitigating tons of post-consumer PET.

Reducing the harmful and toxic effects of PET degradation.

Changing the mixing design process.

Lower (thinner) weight by volume of structures.

Reducing inputs in infrastructure creation.


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2017 Winners
2017 Winners
Idea No. 43