La Esperanza: A cooperative producer of plastics
Esperanza means hope in Spanish, and the emerging private and cooperative organizations in Cuba are full of it. That is why “La Esperanza” has become a symbol.
This small industry emerged in order to eliminate the use of wood in furniture confection, its main activity before starting with plastic.
La Esperanza, located in the central province of Sancti Spiritus, is the only non-state cooperative producer of plastics in the country. In 2015 it was successful positioning itself in the domestic market with about 20 items of high demand for sectors such as agriculture and construction.
A little over a year after its official constitution, this group is essentially responsible for developing hydraulic and electrical lines, plumbing pipes, hoses of different diameters, elements for agricultural irrigation systems and other components, all of it required by many companies and institutions in the island, being a very attractive alternative by comparison with external suppliers.
Yoel Torres, president of La Esperanza, says is an advantage not to use virgin plastic and added that their main suppliers are the territories of Sancti Spiritus, Cienfuegos, Havana and Ciego de Avila.
"If everything goes ahead as good as now, we´ll consider the possibility of exporting," said Torres proudly.
Products are made from recycled plastic waste and have been marketed in Cuba, with proven quality explains Julio Cermeño, who designed the machines for the process.
"Seeking to be profitable we found the choice of using plastic," says this well known man with a significant background of innovative actions. "In eight months of intense study I designed a machine with the potential for producing 400 meters of hose daily, and reality was a blessing, since it could produce more than 1000 meters in a day”.
Moreover, Yoel Torres says: “Now we are experimenting to produce the so-called plastic wood, an alternative to reduce deforestation, used worldwide for street furniture, food industry as well as engine parts, electrical insulation, sporting goods and textile fibers.”
According to several interviews with workers, they revealed the secret for the proper functioning of the industry is each member has a high sense of responsibility; hence they themselves ensure the health of the equipment.
Since 2013 the Cuban government is promoting the creation of non-agricultural cooperatives for diverse productions and services, giving them legal representation and authorization to establish economic relations with institutions of the public sector.
(With information from Cubadebate)