Fernando González González, Tec de Monterrey’s director of admissions for the Saltillo campus, has set up a bottled water company whose packaging is capable of degrading 25 times faster than a conventional PET bottle.
The brand’s name is Maka, which means “to give” in Nahuatl, and its bottles are made with an organic additive that reduces the oxidation time of plastic to between two and six years.
“A normal plastic bottle can take up to 150 years to disintegrate. We’re the only water brand in the country that uses this additive to reduce degradation time,” he said.
25 times faster
“Garbage dumps have a high concentration of bacteria. When this additive is included, the PET molecules expand, allowing the entry of bacteria to accelerate the decomposition process,” he explained.
He also pointed out that Mexico ranks second in the consumption of plastic containers, which is why he saw an opportunity to reduce the amount of this material in the environment.
International award-winning design
According to Fernando, the most complex part of creating their product was designing the packaging, since they decided to make a mold from scratch that would set them apart from other brands.
“We went through about a year of trial-and-error in manufacturing the mold to get the design we wanted,” he said.
In 2019, Maka won two international awards for the design of its bottles, competing against food and beverage brands from around the world:
- First place for Best water bottle design at the Dieline Awards.
- Second place for Best Packaging Design at the Latin American Design Awards.
Mexican art on its bottles
The brand’s image incorporates Mexican elements such as the Mexican trogon bird, whose feather colors match those of the national flag.
In addition, it includes colors and designs inspired by Mexican muralism, specifically that of Carlos Mérida, a Guatemalan painter and sculptor who became a naturalized Mexican.
“We wanted to capture Mexican art, which is why we’re constantly changing the colors and figures on the back of the container,” he said.
Hand-labeled product with social awareness
“While the entire market is used to cylindrical bottles, Maka created a rectangular design that couldn’t be labeled in regular machines,” he added.
The professor stated that the brand works alongside the movement Hecho con capacidad (Made with Ability), which supports people with intellectual disabilities to prepare for work and helps place them in the labor sector.
“Half of our production line is made up of people from this association, and they label the bottles by hand,” he added.
Maka currently distributes its products in Mexican states such as Coahuila, Nuevo León, Baja California Sur, Querétaro, Guanajuato, and Sonora.
According to the United Nations, an estimated one million plastic bottles are bought every minute.
Almost a third of all plastic packaging exits the sewer systems and 8 million tons end up in the oceans each year, threatening marine life.
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