“Future Plastic Markets: Supply Chains and Innovation in Extraordinary Times” was this year’s theme for the recently held Global Plastics Summit (GPS). In a strategic dialogue with Anthony Palmer, Vice President, Chemical Consulting at IHS Markit, UBQ’s CEO Jack Bigio and Mercedes Benz’s Birgit Klockenhoff discussed how UBQ™ material’s carbon neutrality and climate positivity is transforming waste into a material revolution.
Key takeaways included:
- Municipal solid waste generation will grow from 2.1 billion MT in 2020-2021 to 3.6 billion MT by 2050, with the greatest growth in non-major market countries like India, Southeast Asia, and Latin America.
- Plastics currently make up about 12% of the municipal waste stream (MSW), and the majority are non-durable thermoplastics, including packaging and single-use plastics.
As world leaders try to envision a circular plastics environment moving forward, these realities represent significant logistical issues.
The implications of UBQ™ material’s circular properties “is enormous,” says Bigio, because the versatile material, which replaces fuel-based plastics, can work alone or with conventional plastics. It’s bringing a new level of sustainability to the table by rendering end products carbon-neutral and climate-positive.
Because of the wide-ranging applications UBQ™ can be used for, manufacturers are now meeting sustainability goals by:
- Shifting sourcing strategies.
- Restructuring production processes.
- Developing closed-loop supply chain methods.
The Plastics Recycling Value Chain
During the summit, Bigio shared UBQ’s prior-day announcement of a collaboration with a petrochemical plant that, for the first time ever, will create and ship a new carbon-negative polypropylene to the plant’s customers. Bigio says that, through its vertical and horizontal work with different players in various industries, UBQ is thrilled to be touching consumer lives in every way.
For instance, Daimler uses UBQ’s climate-positive thermoplastic for car parts. As Klockenhoff explained, the company wanted a partner focused on multiple global benefits such as resource preservation, human rights, and livable cities. UBQ™, she believes, is helping Daimler be seen as a sustainable technology leader committed to creating benefits for the common good.
Bigio wrapped up the discussion by expressing his appreciation for Daimler’s belief in UBQ™ as a game-changing material. The collaboration has opened up an incredible number of opportunities for the company, he says, not only in the automobile industry but other varied sectors. He’s excited about how, as UBQ™ moves down through the value chain, they’re working with compounders and how it won’t be long before they’re involved with resin producers.
UBQ™ represents the kind of innovative thinking that will move society as a whole toward a circular plastic economy. And as it does so, its vision of using local waste to create local UBQ™ material that’s distributed to local markets moves ever closer to reality.