Civil engineer graduated at Puc-Rio, Rafael Vieira – Class of 1999, is a partner of Riomix Mortar, which produces a product called Celumassa. Rafael developed, alongside his team, a sustainable mortar that includes its own recycled packaging in the composition, reducing the environmental impact. In December 2018, the company won the 22nd CBIC Innovation and Sustainability Award in the category of materials and components. We interviewed Rafael to learn more about this fantastic product and its trajectory.
1- Your project has two fantastic and important work fronts, both social and environmental. Let’s talk initially about the creation of this innovative product, Celumassa. What motivated you to create a mortar, a product so common in the day to day of those who work in the construction industry, with the differential of being distributed in renewable bags?
Actually, we work on the construction industry for decades and specifically in the mortar in bags industry for almost 20 years. Therefore, this project of industrial mortars in reusable bags is an evolution of what we do for quite some time. Our motivation is serving not only our clients but the community as whole.
2- The bags of Celumassa are made of what material?” How exactly is your reuse done?
We recycle regular Kraft Paper, common for cement and mortar bags. We have a special recycling system to reduce the bags in particle sizes usable for the mortar blends.
3- What was the contribution of the Materials Department of PUC-Rio in the development of this project? How long did it take to actually be feasible and marketed?
In an inter-lab study, between Puc-Rio and our own lab, we managed to develop a way to recycle the bags to a usable size and test it for its mechanical and durability properties and within 5 to 6 months our first truck of Riomix-Celumassa was delivered.
4- The incentive to donate a bag of 50kg for every 100 bags collected has had an effect? Do you notice a greater concern in people in returning the used bags instead of just discarding them?
Totally!! Our Social Plastering Program (PES – Programa Emboço Social) we believe is the main trigger to persuade our clients on returning the used paper combined with cement residue bags.
5 – You say that the construction industry is the largest generator of solid waste in the world. What are the waste disposal rates for this industry?
Around 1/4 of what enters a construction site leaves as solid waste. The more solutions we have for reusing, reducing or recycling this waste the more we help reduce the impact to the environment.
6- Let’s talk a little bit about the PES – Programa Emboço Social. How many families have already been favored by the project in Itaboraí? -What encouraged you to create PES? You told us that the external coating in the houses is very costly and therefore, little used. Do you use Celumassa itself in this project? Is a house without such external protection a house with more risks of collapse, infiltration and prejudices for the residents?
We started counting de bag returns on July 1st 2017 and on the 31st of December 2018, 18 months later, we achieved the incredible amount of 250.000 residue bags collected. A total of 50 family homes protected by the program. And also this helped deflect 2.500 cubic meters of solid paper combined with cement waste from the environment eliminating 57.500 kg of CO2eq blown out to our ozone layer through the reverse logistic system created by Riomix-Celumassa. For you to have an idea, to neutralize these emissions at least 450 new-planted trees would be needed.
7- How did The British School help you build and raise your social and environmental concern with the world? Did you participate in any social project at school? Do you have memories of having “put your hand in the dough” when younger? (Currently the school has projects with that NGO TETO and they were raising funds for the construction of houses. Was this school initiative already happening in your time?)
Helping people help each other! This is our goal, this is our inspiration. By returning the most amount of bags the more families get their homes protected. Plaster if fundamental for the durability of the wall structures, it also prevents humidity, heat or cold, living organisms entering the houses. Reducing dermatological and respiratory illnesses from the ones living in unprotected houses. It’s not hard to realize that Brazilian socially less favored homes lack the use of plaster protection, if you can see the bricks from outside, it means there is no exterior plaster layer. And yes, we use the new Celumassa mortar 2018 CBIC Innovation and Sustainability trophy winner technology to protect these houses. TBS is a great School, students have to enjoy and appreciate the unique opportunity to learn and specially built character there. In which ever area I enter, my experience at TBS will always be of great help. I really don’t remember of ONG TETO at my time.
8- Did you have any discipline or mentor in TBS that inspired you to build a better world, be it in the creation of Celumassa or create a social project that walks alongside your company?
All my teachers at TBS left a footprint on my character. Art, P.E. and Maths were my favorite classes. Now as a civil engineer, I look back and realize how. Art made me more creative and showed me a special perception towards nature, sports gave me great team work skills, leadership, learning to win and to lose, and Maths made me more curious and also realize that a lot of great men and women saw nature in a different way than others of their time and thought a whole lot of stuff before us.