Eco Áridos

Eco Áridos: Rubble Recycling

Córdoba, ArgentinaCórdoba, Argentina
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
for profit
Project Stage:
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Rubble accumulation is a problem everywhere. Our project consists in a mobile machine that can be transported to those locations and process the rubble to turn it into eco-sand that can be used in several ways. This way we add value to the product and we reduce the transportation costs and pollution

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if there was an easy and economic way of disposing construction and demolition wastes?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Rubble accumulation is a problem in every city in the world. Some consequences are the unproductive occupation of large areas, negative visual impact and disease transmission. The problem gets even bigger when we consider that the retail price is low and the transportation cost is hi. In addition, sand used in construction sites and construction material production, is mined from hills and extracted from rivers with no control in Argentina.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

ECO ÁRIDOS proposes treating these residues by grinding and subsequent classification of them according to size and composition. By combining different particle sizes we can obtain alternative products to natural sand. They have numerous applications whose fitness and quality has been verified with tests and trials. Thus we get a double benefit: reducing the consumption of natural resources and eliminate waste already generated. Some applications: concrete blocks, floor tiles, cobbles, plasters, mortars and subfloors. An interesting fact is that at the same places where rubbles are created, eco-sand can be used. So the possibility of transporting the machine to different locations greatly reduced logistic costs.


Emprende industria (Córdoba, Argentina)
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

In our country there are many industries which primary activity is manufacturing construction materials. These industries also create a great amount of rubbles (due to products that does not fulfill quality requirements) that are usually dumped in local green areas. Our idea is to treat them right there, where they are created, and turn them into eco-sand that can be used to manufacture new products. This way, companies save money because there is no need to transport rubbles and, at the same time, they get raw material to continue production Our mobile factory can process 15 tons per hour. For most local companies we will only need one day to treat their biweekly amount of rubble. Allowing us to serve several clients with just one machine

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

We have contacted private companies and some boroughs. We made samples and run some tests. The results were very promising so we decided to start building a bigger machine (capacity:15 tons per hour). As we have previously described, private industries can perceive great benefits by working with us. This also applies to public organisms. Once rubbles are dumped they became a public issue. Moving them to locations outside the cities is expensive and is not a solution, is just hiding the problem. If there were several smaller areas where rubbles could be stored, the mobile plant could go from one to another, turning rubbish into eco-sand. A lot of logistic and money is saved. The same location can operate as a eco-sand selling spot and keep receiving rubble until it is filled with enough amount of them to justify the mobile plant to pay another visit.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

Once we have gained some experience in the local market we intend to expand to other cities of our country, such as Buenos Aires and Rosario. There the problem is deeper than in Córdoba due to longer transport distances and higher prices of natural sand so it's very likely that local authorities and companies will be willing to work with us. Argentine laws do not contemplate the existence of eco-products to replace natural sand. We have had the opportunity to talk to some authorities and confirm that in a few years these laws will exist. So this is the perfect moment to start this enterprise.

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

This project involves very few employees and little machinery maintenance, therefore, the income obtained from selling eco-sand is enough to cover the expenses and have good profit.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

There are some initiatives that intend to do the same than us. The main difference is the mobile plant. By building a fixed plant, our competitors are forced to transport the rubbles to their location, treat them, and then transport the eco-sand to the client. This forces them to sell at a higher price than us to cover transport costs.

Founding Story

For a long time our father's construction company have recycled rubbles in a very small scale but with great results. We also observed that there were a lot of rubbles accumulations all over the city. It occurred to us that the same procedure could be used in a larger scale, so we started investigating. Soon we encountered some technical problems that made large scale commercialization a bit difficult. Rubble´s heterogeneous composition made it difficult to get a quality product every time. It took some tests, mistakes, and a lot of work, but we finally came up with a solution. The "mobile" idea came as a need of reducing costs.


Full time dedication: Santiago Bruna (31): Civil engineer, board member Javier Bruna (28): Civil engineer, board member Part time dedication: Cecilia Saco (52): Accountant, board member Mario Antonione (27): Sales
Please confirm how you heard about the Unilever Awards:

Read about it online

Please confirm your role in the initiative (eg Founder/co-Founder) and your organisational title:

Co-Founder - Eco Áridos

Which of the 8 UN Global Goals (Sustainable Development Goals) pre-selected for this competition does your solution relate most closely to? [select all that apply]

Responsible Consumption and Production.

Leadership and the Unilever Awards
Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered.

Santiago and Javier Bruna: Civil engineers with experience in construction materials and techniques.

Cecilia Saco: Former project analyzer and human resourses director in "Denso auto parts".

Beyond your existing team, who else are you working with to achieve your objectives, eg partners, advisors, mentors?

External consultant:
José Coranti (60): Mechanical with a lot of experience in the construction of shredders
Liliana Bruna (58): Lawyer
Córdoba´s National University (soil department): we are co-directing a research about the different uses of eco-sand as soil improver. This will widen the possibilities of market penetration.