By Timothy Byrne, Waste Management expert and FACTS columnist

Martinez Cano is a family-owned company and this year marks its fiftieth year in business. The company was founded in Alzina-Valencia in 1968 and now operates across all of the Canary Islands. It specialises in the collection and processing of dry mixed recyclables.

For the last twenty years, Martinez Cano has provided a mobile waste collection service using Geesinknorba GPM series waste collection vehicles to service its private sector clients on the islands of Gran Canaria and Tenerife. These clients range from hotels, restaurants, supermarkets, offices, warehouses to local industry. The company also collects dry mixed recyclables for municipalities across the islands of Gran Canaria and Tenerife in conjunction with Ecoembes. Residual waste produced by industry on the two islands is also collected by Martinez Cano using its fleet of waste collection vehicles.

Containers of 800 or 1000 litre capacities are provided to the clients by Martinez Cano. Blue coloured containers are for the collection of cardboard, while yellow containers are for the commingled collection of plastics and steel/aluminium cans. The size/capacity of these containers depends on the space each client has to store the containers. Dry mixed recyclables are also collected in containers of 800-1000 litre capacities from communal collection points for municipalities across the islands e.g. blue for cardboard and yellow for commingled plastic and steel/aluminium cans. These containers are supplied by the municipalities and Martinez Cano’s responsibility is only the emptying/collection of the recyclable materials. Residual waste produced by industry is collected in grey 800-1000 litre containers.

To provide an efficient collection service to its clients, Martinez Cano has purchased four new Geesinknorba GPMIV waste collection vehicles from Geesinknorba Spain. These new units have been added to its fleets in Gran Canaria and Tenerife. The new vehicles consist of two GPMIV 17H25 17m3 units, one of which is mounted onto a MAN TGS 18.320 4×2 18 tonne chassis, while the second is mounted onto a Mercedes Antos 1833 4×2 18 tonne chassis. Two GPMIV 22H25 22m3 units have also been supplied mounted onto MAN TGS 26.360 6×2 rear steer 26 tonne chassis. All four units have been fitted with Geesinknorba’s GCB 1000 S3 bin lifting equipment which have DIN type trunnion lifting arms fitted for the emptying of DIN 30700 type containers as well as a comb bar for the emptying of DIN 30740 type containers. All four are fitted with Geesinknorba’s renowned ‘Smartpack’ system. This uses the minimum amount of fuel from the vehicle’s pump to operate the bin lift and compaction equipment, which improves fuel consumption. To ease driver fatigue, all of the new vehicles feature automatic transmissions. This also helps in reducing maintenance costs in the replacement of clutches when a manual transmission would have conventionally been used. All of the trucks are GIS/GPS tracked so management know where vehicles are in real time. The software also measures the vehicle’s speed, course and fuel consumption.

The company uses a driver and one loader for the collection of dry mixed recyclables using the new GPMIV vehicles. The vehicles operate on two eight hour shifts: the first shift starts at 6am finishing at 2pm, while the second shift starts at 2pm and finishes at 10pm. The collection crew place the 800 and 1000 litre containers onto the GCB 1000 S3 bin lifting equipment for emptying. In some instances, the crew collect loose cardboard or collect bagged commingled plastics, steel and aluminium cans from customer’s premises where there is insufficient room to store containers for these materials. These are loaded into the hopper of the GPMIV units by hand.

Once the collection service has been completed, the crew travel to Martinez Cano’s materials recycling facilities (MRF’S) at either Telde in Gran Canaria or to either Güímar or La Campana in Tenerife. The MRF’S segregate the plastics into their respective types e.g. PET, LDPE and HDPE as well as processing the cardboard, steel and aluminium cans. Cardboard, steel and aluminium cans are baled and exported for remanufacture to the peninsula, while plastics are processed on Gran Canaria at Plascán, a subsidiary company in the Martinez Cano group.

The materials collected on behalf of municipalities, in conjunction with Ecoembes, are delivered by Martinez Cano’s GPMIV units to the waste pre-treatment facilities at either Salto del Negro-Las Palmas-Gran Canaria or to the Complejo Ambiental CT2 at Arico-Tenerife as instructed by Ecoembes. These dry mixed recyclables are more contaminated than those collected from Martinez Cano’s private sector clients. This is caused by the residents failing to sort their recyclables properly. Therefore, the materials are processed at these pre-treatment facilities to extract any contaminated materials so that the higher quality recyclables can be recovered and exported for remanufacture.

In conclusion, Martinez Cano provides a high quality collection and materials reprocessing service for both its private and public sector clients on the islands of Gran Canaria and Tenerife. The company is at the forefront of innovation and sustainability and testament to this is the company’s fiftieth anniversary this year. The company is also working hard at reprocessing the recyclable plastics that it collects and recovers on Gran Canaria in conjunction with subsidiary company Plascán. This helps both the local economy in terms of employment prospects as well as meeting the requirements imposed by the 2018 Circular Economy Package.