Richard Cubeta is a self-proclaimed “black-and-white” guy – straightforward and practical. So when his Houston-based company, SolidCast Polymer Technology, discusses “green” composites with clients, Cubeta approaches the topic with a rational, down-to-earth perspective. He explains how his firm can help companies solve a business challenge, not just save the planet.
Cubeta’s matter-of-fact approach has helped him serve as a corrosion-resistant composites leader for more than 30 years. The basis of his company’s technology is the use of non-hazardous raw materials in combination with an environmentally friendly manufacturing process. At COMPOSITES 2013, he led an educational session on using recycled fiberglass for pipes, manhole covers, utility boxes and railroad ties.
The Best of COMPOSITES 2013 Webinar Series launches on Wednesday, May 29, 2013. Cubeta’s webinar, Utilizing Recycled Fiberglass for Affordable Green Composite Technology, will be held on Wednesday, June 12, 2013.
You approach the green marketplace from an interesting angle – discussing the potential economic benefit of using recycled FRP. Can you talk about that viewpoint?
“Green” is something I’ve been apprehensive to proclaim. When I do a presentation for a client, I talk about the overall benefits of SolidCast Polymer Technology and then add the green angle at the end, as a bonus. A few years ago, I thought the eco-friendliness of recycled FRP was going to be a great hook. But the first thing that happened when I said, “This is green” is clients would say, “Whoa, so then how much is this going to cost?” To most people, green equals expensive. I had to find a different way into the conversation, to focus on a business issue that mattered to them.
How did you do that? What issue are clients and prospects dealing with that your company can help to solve?
The problem is that FRP is not biodegradable and therefore not easily recycled, so the FRP industry is facing growing sustainability problems regarding increased hazardous landfill costs. Also, even the best available FRP manufacturing technology generates a significant quantity of waste.
Employment of lightweight FRP designs have improved the auto and aerospace industries’ fuel efficiencies, while simultaneously giving rise to an entire alternative wind-energy market. Consequently, each industry has succeeded in reducing their carbon footprint. Ironically, these same FRP materials, which have countless energy and environmental benefits, have looming issues regarding disposal and reclamation.
We offer the marketplace a viable cradle-to-cradle remedy. Advancements in our green technology are credited with overall lower manufacturing costs, including permitting, waste removal and raw materials.