Ahead of UBQ Materials’ involvement at Rethinking Materials, we were pleased to speak to their CEO and Co-Founder, Tato Bigio to learn more about how they have been collaborating with Daimler and McDonald’s and their exciting expansion plans to increase capacity.

UBQ Materials was recently awarded ISO certifications for waste-derived thermoplastic. What does this mean for the industry? What new opportunities does this offer?

As UBQ expands and receives attention for our patented waste conversion technology and sustainable UBQ™ material, third-party audits and certifications of the highest international standards become all the more critical. ISO 9001:2015 is an internationally recognized quality standard intended to ensure the consistent design, development, production and sale of products that are fit for purpose per intended use. ISO 14001:2015 is a similar certification providing a framework for companies to protect the environment and responds to changing environmental conditions.

Novel end-of-life solutions for society’s virtually limitless household waste are imperative to address the global climate emergency. With landfills accounting for over 15 percent of all human-related methane emissions, there is an urgent need to rethink how we process waste.

These accreditations reinforce UBQ’s role at the forefront of sustainable materials and open the door for opportunities in more industries and across the material value chain.

“UBQ is a simple choice for offsetting or even reversing the carbon footprint of products  without compromising on performance or profitability.”

– Tato Bigio, Co-Founder and CEO, UBQ Materials

How are you helping different players around the world meet their challenges through partnerships? Can you tell us more about your work with McDonald’s and Daimler?

After completing our Life Cycle Assessment, Quantis declared UBQ™ to be the most climate positive thermoplastic o the market. For every ton of UBQ™ produced, nearly 12 tons of CO2-eq are prevented from polluting the environment. This goes to say that a little UBQ™ can go a long way in empowering brands to make significant strides in reaching their sustainability goals.

A fundamental guideline in the development of UBQ™ was that it make sustainability simple. A drop-in material, UBQ™ is compatible with the majority of plastic polymers and standard manufacturing processes without requiring reformulation. The global abundance and renewable nature of the UBQ™ material feedstock (landfill-destined waste) means we can offer UBQ™ to the industry at a competitive, fixed price.

Leading brands and manufacturers around the world are in a race to achieve net zero carbon footprint. UBQ has partnered with Daimler and Arcos Dorados, the largest franchisee of McDonald’s in the world, to strategically implement UBQ™ in their manufacturing to maximize the environmental impact. As an initial launch, Arcos Dorados has introduced 30,000 serving trays made with UBQ™. Daimler and UBQ are testing the manufacturing of over 15 different auto parts to be made with UBQ™.  

UBQ is a simple choice for offsetting or even reversing the carbon footprint of products  without compromising on performance or profitability. As a company, our vision is to deem landfills obsolete, it is a lofty goal that is within reach only if our commercial partners grow and continue to implement UBQ™ across their businesses. We benefit from them, they benefit from us and together, we are benefiting something much greater.

Can you tell us more about your plans for expansion to increase capacity?

Until recently, UBQ Materials produced out of a facility in the South of Israel in a plant whose primary purpose is R&D. Due to increased demand and the desire to further localize the waste to production cycle, we are quickly scaling up with global expansion. The first industrial scale UBQ plant will be developed in the Netherlands with an annual capacity of 73,000 tons. The rapid global expansion plans hope to have UBQ technology and plants located throughout Europe, United States, Canada, Australia, Japan, among others in the next 10 years. The greater the industry’s demand for UBQ, the faster we are able to power UBQ facilities around the world, lowering the carbon footprint of transportation and diverting more local landfill waste.  The objective is to use local waste to supply local markets.

Do you believe you can compete with plastic on a pricing strategy, and how?

UBQ™ is absolutely price competitive. Utilizing landfill-destined waste as its singular feedstock, UBQ™ incurs neutral or negative costs in procuring raw material. The patented waste conversion technology is highly energy efficient, further strengthening our environmental value proposition as well as keeping manufacturing costs at bay. This lean business model allows to offer the market a competitively priced thermoplastic with a powerful added environmental value.

Beyond competitive cost, UBQ offers something truly unique to the market which is long-term fixed pricing. Of course, 2020 has been an outlier in many ways but its impact on the price of oil and resins is indicative of the volatility of natural resource commodities. Where there are people, there is waste. Until society can alleviate the by-products of a linear economy at a global scale, there will continue to be a steady, reliable source of feedstock for UBQ™ material.

Who are you looking forward to meeting at the summit? What will you be sharing on the session ‘Side Streams: Circular Solutions Breating New Life into Waste’?

It is important for us to expand our client base – the more companies partner with us and implement UBQ™ material into their products, the more impact we can achieve. Today, global society produces over 2 billion tons of municipal solid waste (MSW) annually. This number is expected to double in the next 30 years. Waste is a ubiquitous problem that requires immediate solutions. UBQ has developed a material with equally ubiquitous potential to be utilized in manufacturing across retail, supply chain logistics, building and construction, automotive and nearly any other industry.  
Everyone we meet is a potential UBQ client or advocate, we are looking to connect with individuals to join us in making waste obsolete, partners to effectively speed up the world’s transition from a linear production to a truly circular system.

Tato will join the panel discussion ‘Side Streams: Circular Solutions Breathing New Life into Waste’ at the upcoming Rethinking Materials summit on May 19-20 and will be joined by:

Session Chair:
Mark Durno, Partner, ROCKSTART AGRIFOOD, Denmark
Jennifer Holmgren, CEO, LANZATECH, USA
Marco Jansen, Director of Circular Economy & Sustainability EU & Asia / Global Director of Bioplastics, BRASKEM, Netherlands
Tony Perrotta, Partner, PA CONSULTING, USA