Answers to the most 
frequently asked questions.

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What steps has UBQ Materials taken that are relevant for clients concerned about the social and environmental practices of their suppliers?

UBQ Materials follows local Israeli laws and regulations which, in turn, follow European standards, including those related to social and environmental performance. We practice good governance, including the implementation of policies related to ethics and corruption. UBQ Materials is affiliated with trusted third parties—this includes B Corp certification, Quantis’ validation of our life cycle assessment, and membership in the United Nations Global Compact. In 2020, UBQ declared a climate emergency and announced our goal to be net zero by 2030.

What has UBQ Materials done to ensure that its social or environmental performance is a part of its decision-making over time?

In 2018, the UBQ Board of Directors approved the signing of a B Corp Agreement, a legal form requiring consideration of all stakeholders in the organizations strategic and day-to-day business decisions.

Does UBQ Materials monitor and manage its water usage?

The UBQ conversion process uses zero water and creates zero effluents. As protocol, we regularly monitor and record water usage in our factory.

Does UBQ’s conversion technology compete with conventional recycling for waste sources?

No. UBQ supports and is a complement to conventional recycling. We intentionally target residual waste – household waste where recyclables have already been removed – that would otherwise be landfilled, such as food waste, unrecyclable plastics and dirty cardboard. Readily recyclable materials like glass and metal found in our waste feedstock are removed so that they can be processed anew via conventional recycling streams.

Is the UBQ Materials factory in Israel zero waste?

Yes, it is. Any garbage produced in our plant and office in Israel is thrown into our process to produce UBQ.

What are the UN SDGs and why are they important?

Issued in 2015, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a blueprint for addressing urgent global issues, such as alleviating poverty, ending inequality, and protecting the earth’s natural resources. Comprised of 17 interrelated goals and 169 targets, the SDGs serve as a roadmap for sustainable development and a common vision shared by 193 nations. SDG targets provide unilateral guidelines for organizations and policymakers to assess and manage social, economic, and environmental risks and opportunities.

Is UBQ Materials a member of the UN Global Compact?

Indeed! Every year we update UNGC about our current and planned efforts to implement the UNGC principles in the areas of human rights, anti-corruption, labor and the environment.

Is UBQ Materials a Certified B Corp™?

Heck yeah! And we aren’t just an average B Corp either. In 2019, UBQ was designated ‘Best for the World for the Environment’, an honor bestowed upon companies scoring in the top 10% of Certified B Corps on each portion of the B Impact Assessment.

What does UBQ Materials do to minimize the risk of harmful materials or elements in the waste stream that is converted into UBQ™?

We have several quality assurance controls built in, including a dedicated employee to oversee the initial intake process and remove anything problematic. Thereafter, our waste preparation process entails a number of automated cleanup stages. Our conversion process involves heat, which kills bacteria to neutralize our feedstock as it is transformed into UBQ™ material.

Is UBQ™ safe?

According to Vireo Advisors, leading health and safety material certification company, the UBQ conversion process is both a complete mechanical and chemical transformation. It does not allow the survival of any microorganisms and completely neutralizes molecules that are related to waste degradation. All external third-party laboratory testing results demonstrate that the UBQ™ material is safe for people and for the environment according to the most stringent US & European rules. Based on these assessments, the UBQ™ material is completely safe to use and does not present any health or safety concerns. The waste conversion process works with temperatures much below combustion levels, yet the processing temperatures are high enough to kill any pathogens and bacteria present in the feedstock. UBQ partners with multiple third parties to validate and certify UBQ™ as safe to use for its intended applications.

Has UBQ Materials completed an externally validated life cycle assessment (LCA) to prove reduction of emissions from UBQ™? 

Yes, our LCA has been prepared and validated by Quantis. You can read more about the entire process here: The Process | UBQ Materials

Why is UBQ™ climate positive? How does it compare to other polymers in terms of its carbon footprint?

UBQ™ is a climate-positive material because the UBQ conversion process, which takes household trash and makes it into UBQ™, prevents more carbon emissions than it produces. According to Quantis, a leader in international impact assessments, UBQ™ material is “the most climate positive thermoplastic material in the market today”.

What is the carbon footprint of UBQ™?

According to our life cycle assessment (LCA), a single ton of UBQ™ material produced in our factory located in Israel has a negative carbon footprint, equivalent to preventing 11.7 tons of CO2 (GWP20). This means that UBQ™ is carbon negative (i.e., climate positive).

What is the environmental impact of the UBQ conversion process?

UBQ's conversion process was designed with sustainability in mind. It is safe for our employees and the environment, producing no waste, byproducts or effluents. Unlike conventional plastic recycling, the process of converting trash into UBQ™ requires no added ingredients, chemicals or water. The conversion process is also energy efficient, using temperatures well below combustion.

Does UBQ™ have a Cradle to Cradle certification?

Although UBQ™ would readily meet the requisite social and environmental standards for Cradle-to-Cradle certification, only end-products can receive this designation. We help and encourage our clients, who manufacture products containing UBQ™, to obtain Cradle to Cradle certification because it lends additional credibility to our clients’ contributions to the circular economy.

Is UBQ™ biodegradable?

Our material is not biodegradable, but it can be recycled time and time again.

Is UBQ™ recyclable?

Yes. UBQ™ has been extensively tested in laboratories and proven to be recyclable while retaining its properties even after undergoing the recycling process 10 times. Any scrap UBQ™ produced in our plant is reground and used to create new UBQ™ material. To ensure the recyclability of UBQ™ in conventional recycling streams, we have enlisted the expertise of Axion Group for thorough assessment and verification.

How much MSW goes into a ton of UBQ™?

The production of 1 ton of UBQ™ is a conversion of 1.34 tons of residual waste input where the majority of the lost [mass OR weight] represents the moisture content which is removed in the conversion process. Waste composition and moisture levels within the waste stream can vary from region to region.

UBQ Materials uses MSW that would otherwise be landfilled as its feedstock. Where is this waste diverted from?

The municipal solid waste that UBQ’s Israeli factory turns into UBQ™ material is diverted from Duda’im, the biggest landfill in Israel, located 25 miles (40 km) from our factory. Duda’im is an unmanaged landfill, which means that minimal efforts are undertaken at the landfill to recover, flare or otherwise prevent the release of methane into the atmosphere.

Which waste streams are targeted for conversion by UBQ’s technology?

Our solution currently targets municipal solid waste (MSW), household waste, as its composition meets our feedstock’s target ratios. For plastic applications, the UBQ conversion process removes and recycles metals and minerals found in the MSW stream. In the future, UBQ may produce different grades of UBQ™ by targeting different waste streams, such as commercial and industrial waste, as feedstocks.

What percentage of UBQ™ comes from waste?

100% of UBQ™ is made from waste diverted from landfills. UBQ Masterbatch is a compounded blend of UBQ™ material and a host resin. Both 100% UBQ™ tablets and UBQ Masterbatch are sold to clients in the form of pellets, a standard for the polymer market.

What is the difference between recycling and upcycling, and what is UBQ?

Recycling aims to return specific materials to a previous stage of their production cycle. Upcycling is the process of transforming materials – including by-products, waste or products otherwise considered useless – into a new material or product of greater quality and value. By taking worthless trash destined for the landfill and converting it into a new thermoplastic material, UBQ is an upcycling process. Note that UBQ™ material itself is recyclable and can be returned to previous stages of its material cycle in the standard recycling systems.

What is MSW?

MSW is the acronym for municipal solid waste or household waste. UBQ uses MSW as its feedstock.

What is the link between landfills and climate change?

Landfills account for nearly 5% of global greenhouse gas emissions. The reason for this lies in the potency of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas released when organic waste decomposes in landfill conditions. Climate change is often linked exclusively to CO2, but methane is responsible for 1/6 of total anthropogenic (human-caused) greenhouse gas emissions. According to Dr. Drew Shindell, a lead author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, properly managing waste and leveraging it as a resource is critical to avoid methane emissions and reduce global warming while addressing the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

What has UBQ Materials done to specifically advance the UN Sustainable Development Goals?

Our sustainability team has undertaken the effort to analyze and identify specific Sustainable Development Goals and their underlying targets that are most relevant to our business. Our analysis includes both opportunities to positively contribute to the SDGs and potential risks of our business hindering their achievement. Our team will then develop a plan to align our ongoing sustainability reporting metrics to the SDGs. The process of adopting a focused set of SDGs and developing a program for their implementation is scheduled for completion in the coming months.

Is sustainability the only reason people would prefer UBQ™ material to plastic? How does the cost to consumer compare?

With all of the unique sustainability value propositions of UBQ™, we offer our customers a material pricing that is competitive to their existing resins. Consumer studies show a clear purchase preference for environmentally friendly products when prices are unchanged, with some even willing to pay up to 15% premiums for environmental value claims. UBQ™ is strategically priced to pose a no-brainer decision for manufacturers, companies and brands to implement our climate-positive material as a new standard in sustainable production.

What is the current production capacity of UBQ Materials? 

UBQ’s plant in Israel can produce 1 ton of UBQ™ per hour. Adding lines can deliver economy-of-scale advantages, and we plan to expand current capacities by establishing large-scale, industrial plants with additional production lines in upcoming UBQ facilities. Facility out of Tse’elim is a pilot production facility with annual capacity of 7k tons, added to this will be a large-scale facility in Netherlands with annual capacity of 80k tons.

Can UBQ Materials process plastics only, or does it need the organics mixed in?  

UBQ is not a plastics recycling company. The UBQ™ material is comprised of mixed household waste which includes plastics as well as organics, both of which are necessary components of the conversion process.

What resins is UBQ™ compatible with?

Working seamlessly with today’s current manufacturing processes, UBQ™ can be used as a substitute for synthetic oil-derived plastics. From injection to compression molding through to extrusion and 3D printing, UBQ™ has been proven to be compatible with most resins on the market, mainly PP, PE, PLA, and PVC. As with any polymer, virgin or recycled, UBQ™ can be compounded with additives commonly used in the industry to address product specifications such as coloration, impact or UV resistance.

Does the UBQ process require any pre-treatment (removal of glass, ceramics, metals, etc.)?

The UBQ process is able to utilize all household waste. When creating UBQ™ for plastic applications, metals and glass are removed to avoid abrasive materials. These materials, which are valuable and highly recyclable, are sold to the market. For other applications, like thermoplastic bricks which are compressed into shape, we can use all residual household waste without any pre-sorting. The waste conversion process works with temperatures much below combustion levels, yet the processing temperatures are high enough to kill any pathogens and bacteria present in the feedstock. UBQ partners with multiple third parties to validate and certify UBQ™ as safe to use for its intended applications.

What percentage of plastic materials can be substituted by UBQ™?

UBQ™ can substitute up to 100% of the plastic content in a product. The amount of UBQ™ used is dependent on the material requirements of each specific product. Replacing even small quantities of oil-based resins with UBQ™, such as 5-15%, can reduce the carbon footprint of a product so significantly that it nets climate positive. The material swap to UBQ™ is simple and does not require new investment by manufacturers for any change to equipment or tooling.

How can I help spread the word about UBQ Materials?

If you share our belief that UBQ™ is a revolutionary material that can make the world a better place, we’d love to hear from you. Follow us on our social channels and sign up to the UBQ Newsletter to receive updates. But most importantly, make a difference with your power as a consumer and look for the UBQ Sunrise in the products you buy. Share our video with friends, colleagues and local decision makers - together we can make a world of change.

This sounds too good to be true. Why hasn’t anyone done this before?

In short, it’s more complicated than it may appear. While we do have patents for both our advanced waste conversion technology and the UBQ™ material, there is not one “secret sauce” we’ve developed, but rather a collection of trade secrets – big and small – that have brought us to where we are today. It’s been nearly a decade of endlessly testing and tinkering with our process and control systems to create an efficient line at industrial scale.

What will happen if UBQ Materials runs out of waste to use as feedstock?

Nothing would make us happier! The reality is that this is statistically impossible. Unlike raw materials, which are finite in nature, waste is ever-growing, enabling UBQ to supply sustainable material at a competitive price point that is stable year-round. Even if all plastics in use today were replaced by UBQ™ material, the total amount of waste input required would represent less than 1/3 of the total household waste produced on a global scale. While UBQ’s technology certainly has a role to play in the effort to reduce waste, it remains one of many actions and targeted technologies needed in order to reach aggressive landfill reductions projected through 2050.

How can UBQ Materials achieve consistency in UBQ™ when the composition of waste changes every day?

The UBQ conversion process is calibrated to a statistical average of waste composition. Typically, urban mixed household waste is comprised of roughly 85% organics (food waste, cardboard, paper) and 15% mixed plastics (packaging, multilayer films and disposables). While the UBQ process is built to accommodate certain deviations in the streams, we secure consistency by working with large volume waste suppliers and through the homogenization of batches during the different stages of the process.

What are the benefits of using UBQ™ instead of plastic?

UBQ™ is the most climate-positive thermoplastic on the market. By substituting even small amounts of conventional oil-based resins with UBQ™, manufacturers are able to offset or even reverse the climate footprint of their product. How is this possible? By preventing the decomposition of organic materials in landfills,  UBQ™ prevents the emission of methane, 86 times more potent than CO2 over a 20-year time horizon. Our life cycle assessment shows that for every ton of UBQ™ produced, 11.7 tons of CO2eqare prevented from polluting the environment. For comparison, every ton of conventional plastics emits between 2 to 5 tons of CO2eq. By replacing one ton of polypropylene (+2.7 tons CO2eq/ton) with UBQ™ (-11.7 CO2eq/ton), we save a total amount of +14.4 tons CO2eq/ton from polluting the environment.

Is UBQ Materials a waste treatment company?

UBQ is an advanced materials company, introducing a climate-positive raw material to the manufacturing industry. While our conversion process utilizes household waste, our business model is built on supplying the resulting UBQ™ material to the market. The more UBQ™ we sell, the more waste we divert.

What can be made from UBQ™?

The primary use of UBQ™ is in the manufacturing of durable plastic products. UBQ™ is currently used in applications across industries, including retail, logistics, furniture, construction and automotive. Examples of items that can be produced with UBQ™ are trays, hangers, shopping carts, pipes, panels, bins, furniture, auto parts, and even climate-positive filaments for 3D printing. The scope of applications for UBQ™ is constantly expanding.

How is UBQ™ created?

The composition of household waste is dominated by organic matter. The patented UBQ conversion process reduces the organic elements into their most basic natural components – lignin, cellulose, sugars and other natural fibers. These building blocks are then bonded together with mixed plastics into a robust matrix. The resulting UBQ™ material is a bio-based thermoplastic composite.

What is UBQ™ composed of?

UBQ™ is created from the conversion of mixed household waste that would have otherwise been incinerated or dumped in landfills. The feedstock for the UBQ conversion process can include food residues, garden trimmings, dirty cardboard and paper, diapers and mixed plastics. Through a proprietary reaction system, the heterogeneous waste streams are reconstituted into a homogeneous, composite material.

What exactly is UBQ™?

UBQ™ is a bio-based thermoplastic material that can be used as a substitute for plastic, concrete, wood and minerals in thousands of product applications. UBQ™ is a novel material, fully converted from unsorted municipal solid waste. By diverting waste from landfills, UBQ™ prevents methane emissions and further depletion of finite natural resources. UBQ™ is seamlessly integrated into existing industrial processes, enabling manufactures to neutralize – and even reverse – the carbon footprint of everyday products.

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