Formato Verde located in Ourense has been designing, developing, manufacturing, and installing urban solid waste residue containers for ten years of both the surface and underground types. Always with the premise of combining design and quality, the company try to solve the aesthetic impact problem that these receptacles cause on public streets. In that context they presented a side-loading surface container at the end of 2011 that incorporates a solution that is in the process of being patented, and which is compatible with the trucks and collection systems that exist today.


Ministry of Economy and Industry contributed 150,000 Euros presents two fundamental differences with respect to other competitors. First, its design includes a smaller front lid and a longer useful life thanks to its greater flexibility which also guarantees a lower percentage of breakage. Second, the container is better in terms of aesthetics, hygiene, and a greater resistance to changes in temperature which result in greater durability of the product. To achieve these advantages, the Sales Director, Marcos Rodríguez, emphasised that the subsidy provided by the Galician administration was “fundamental” as it paid for approximately 40% of the proposal.

Until the crisis occurred, this Ourense team focused on the sector of urban developments regarding “premium” containers. After the economic de-escalation interrupted things, they took their focus off of the most expensive products in order to concentrate on other more basic and more economic products.

The proposal that gained them the most attention internationally was the ‘Big Tainer’ that combines the essential function of waste recollection with the integration of new technologies. The IT permits that the containers incorporate communication functions, the identifition of the user, and the tracking of the receptacle by means of a network with objectives as diverse as knowing the level of accumulated residue, the attachment of alarms, or even tele-maintenance which simplifies the work at the same time that it permits an immediate reaction in the case of an emergency.

The company was contracted by Abu Dhabi to provide these containers to the city of the United Arab Emirates, an activity for which it received an income of more than 25 million Euros via its international affiliate. The appropriation included the installation of 262 containers in a population generating a large amount of waste (2.2 kilos of waste daily per inhabitant which is double that of the European average). With the system created by these Ourense businessmen, the waste is compacted to permit the reduction in frequency of recollection (decreasing from three collections daily to an average of one collection every 6 days in Winter). At the same time, there is an increase in capacity, integration into the city, and hygiene.

Innovation is becoming even more important and the challenge is even greater in times of crisis. Before, in the epoch of economic bonanza, everything was worth it, but now costs must be cut and this can only be accomplished with innovation. Before, we looked for the beautiful and the functional. Now, with innovation, we are going after savings”. Marcos Rodríguez

One of the principal advantages of the model designed by this Galician company is the identification of the user who deposits waste; this prepares the foundation so that, in the future, each neighbour pays for the waste that she or he produces. They have also installed this type of container in Málaga, close to a market in the centre of the city. With the incorporation of the Formato Verde system, the people of Málaga were able to completely recuperate one street and even install terraces where before there was only waste. On the basis of this project, the company is also working on initiatives for South America.

Without a doubt, the rapid take­off of the firm had a lot to do with its specific department of innovation, made up of an industrial designer and with collaborations with an auxiliary company. The Sales Director recognised that the personnel dedicated to R&D&I perform a key task not only in the lines of business on which they are wagering but also in the indices of growth that the company has reached. Marcos Rodríguez emphasised that it is a “crucial Department” now that he understands that innovation is “the only differentiating element” that allows the organisations that incorporate it to sell with a reasonable margin in order to off-set costs.

Investment in the area of innovation is close to 10% of the billing volume that, only in the national territory, is some 5 million Euros. In order to maintain this level, Rodríguez revealed that public assistance is “absolutely key” given that it also converts into a condition of carrying out projects both in economic terms as well as factors of time. Now the pressure of the governmental financial control entity “helps” to develop ideas. According to the Sales Director of Formato Verde, investment in this area was definitive because went from 2 to 12 employees with a high degree of specialisation and they have professional profiles that range from engineers or salespersons to graphic designers or industrial designers. The positive experience of the company in the field of innovation is leading it to incorporate innovation into the entire production process.

Innovation, professionalism, ecology, and social responsibility constitute the image of the brand Formato Verde. These businesspeople care about these four parameters “down to the last detail,” explained Rodríguez.

Aside from these two projects, they are working with an eye to the future to develop a container for domestic oils which will be ready in some two months and for which they received a subsidy from the Regional Government of Galicia of 17,000 Euros. They are also focused on the launching of other modalities of containers for solid residue for which they also receive economic assistance from the Administration.