UBQ™ is comprised of household mixed waste, including all the organics such as food residues, garden trimmings, dirty cardboard and paper, diapers, mixed plastics, as well as packaging materials.
By reducing the waste into its basic, natural components, reconstituting them into a composite matrix, UBQ Materials creates a novel material with thermoplastic characteristics.
The UBQ patented conversion process effectively reduces the unsorted residual waste stream into many of its more basic natural components: lignin, cellulose and sugars that dominate the composition of organic matter and creates a robust thermoplastic matrix into which plastic particles bond and get mixed to create a novel composite UBQTM
UBQ™ is currently fit for use in durable plastic products in the logistics, construction, automotive sectors. To name just a few examples: trays, hangers, shopping carts, car parts, pipes, panels, siding, bins, transportation pallets and boxes. We are constantly working on expanding the UBQ™ applications and compatibility in a wider arrange of products.
UBQ is an advanced material manufacturer, looking to create valuable materials from wasted resources. Even though we process waste to create our materials, we are not a waste treatment company.
UBQ™ has a significant positive impact on the environment. By preventing the decomposition of organic materials in landfills, UBQ avoids potent methane emissions, which compared to CO2 are 84 times more toxic over a 20-year time horizon. Our life cycle assessment shows that for every ton of UBQ™ produced, 11.7 ton of CO2eq are prevented from polluting the environment.
UBQ is a competitive alternative to conventional plastics. Sustainable alternatives to plastic are often avoided by manufacturers because they cost more than traditional, oil-based resins. However, UBQ™ is a solution that is both sustainable and cost effective.
By using wasted material as its feedstock, UBQ brings a sustainable resource to fill the gap of growing material consumption, transitioning from a linear extraction and consumption system to a truly circular economy.
The waste composition statistics average is the main driver to calibrate our reaction process. Typically, the urban waste split is about 70% organics (food waste, cardboard, mixed paper) and 30% mixed plastics (anything from food packaging, multilayer films, envelops and disposables). Even though the UBQ process is tolerant for certain deviations in the streams, we secure homogeneity by working with large volume waste suppliers through homogenization of batches during the different stages of the process.
Unlike raw materials which are finite in nature, waste is ever-growing. Therefore, UBQ can deliver a value proposition of a competitive price point that is stable year-around. Even if all plastics in use today were replaced by UBQ materials, the total amount of waste input required would represent less than 1/3 of the total household waste produced on 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 the ideal scenario for aggressive landfill reductions projected through 2050.
In short, it’s more complicated than it may appear. While we do have patents on both our process and our material, there is not one “secret sauce” we’ve developed, but rather, a collection of a number of trade secrets - big and small – that have taken 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.
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 Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter, and sign up to our Newsletter to receive quarterly updates. But most important, demand products made with UBQ! Tell your friends and local decision-makers about this innovative technology, and together we can tackle the problem of waste and climate change by employing UBQ’s solution across the globe.
UBQ™ is currently used at rates between 20% to 50%, depending on the product application. We typically supply our material in a masterbatch in accordance to final product mechanical properties requirements. Using even 15% UBQ™ can neutralize the carbon footprint of a product.
Our process has the capacity to use all household waste. In order to produce UBQ™ for plastic applications, we remove metals and glass to avoid abrasive materials. The metals, 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 household waste without pre-sorting.
How can you be sure that there are no harmful materials or elements in the waste stream that may become part of the product?
We have a robust quality control system in place from waste receipt, through to process monitoring as well as quality control of outputs. We use advanced analytical protocols and devices to avoid contaminations and the removal of unwanted contents in UBQ™. Even though our process works with temperatures much below combustion levels, the processing temperatures are enough to kill any pathogens and bacteria present in the feedstock.
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 PP, PE, PLA, and PVC.
Like with any other polymer, virgin or recycled, UBQ™ can be compounded with additives commonly used in the industry to address product specifications such as coloration, impact strength or UV resistance.
UBQ™ is comprised of organic waste as well as plastics, and both are necessary components of the process. The organic trash that comprises 70-80% of UBQ’s feedstock is broken down to its particulate constructs—lignin, cellulose, fibers, and sugars—and then reassembled and bound together into a matrix. The mixed plastics that constitute the remaining 20-30% melt and bond into the matrix.
UBQ Materials has built a modular system of 1 ton per hour. Capacity can be increased by adding more lines. Adding lines can certainly deliver economies of scale advantages.
Is sustainability the only reason people would prefer UBQ material to plastic? How does the cost to consumer compare?
UBQ’s business proposition to its customers is that they will not pay a penny more for UBQ™ compared to their existing resin, while all the sustainability value elements are included in the price. Studies show a clear preference by customers to purchase environmentally friendly products for the same prices, and even paying premiums of up to 15%. The adoption of UBQ™ should therefore be a no-brainer decision for manufacturers, companies and brands in line with their commitment to advance their environmental agenda.
Heck yeah! And we aren’t just the average B Corp either. In 2019, UBQ received the designation of ‘Best for the World’, an honor bestowed upon companies scoring in the top ten percent of Certified B Corps on the Environment portion of the B Impact Assessment.
Indeed! Every year we update UNGC about our current/planned efforts to implement the UNGC principles in the areas of human rights, anti-corruption, labor and the environment.
The decomposition of organic material in landfills and waste is a large source of methane, a potent greenhouse gas responsible for around 1/6th of total anthropogenic (human-caused) greenhouse gas emissions. According to Dr. Drew Shindell, a lead author of the IPCC report, properly managing waste and leveraging it as a resource is critical to reduce global warming and address the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Issued in late 2015, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a blueprint for addressing 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 all 193 nations.
SDG Targets serve as guidelines for organizations and policymakers to assess and manage social, economic, and environmental risks and opportunities.
MSW is the acronym for Municipal Solid Waste. UBQ uses MSW as its input feedstock.
Upcycling is a specific type of recycling in which waste material or an unwanted product is into a better-quality product. By taking worthless trash destined for the landfill and upcycling it into a new thermoplastic material, UBQ does both!
100% of UBQ powder is made from upcycled material that is diverted from landfilling. UBQ Masterbatch, a compounded blend of UBQ material and a host resin, are sold to clients in the form of pellets, exactly in the way plastics are sold.
Our solution currently targets Municipal Solid Waste (MSW), AKA household waste, as its composition generally meets our feedstock’s target ratios. UBQ may potentially produce different grades of UBQ by targeting different waste streams, such as commercial and industrial waste, as feedstocks.
UBQ Materials uses MWS 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 the Duda’im waste disposal facility, 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 greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere.
The production of 1 kg of UBQ material requires 1.34 kg of residual waste input where the ‘delta’ represents the moisture content which is removed in the conversion process. Waste composition and moisture levels within the waste stream can vary slightly from region to region.
Yes, it is. Any garbage produced in our plant and office in Tze’elim is thrown into our process to produce UBQ.
Yes. UBQ Materials has carried out laboratory testing and confirmed that UBQ is recyclable. Currently, scrap UBQ made in our plant is reground and recycled into new UBQ. Axion Group has been retained to further assess and verify the recyclability of UBQ masterbatches in conventional recycling streams.
Our material is recyclable. It’s not biodegradable, but it can be recycled time and time again.
No. UBQ supports and is a complement to conventional recycling. We intentionally target waste that would otherwise be landfilled, such as plastic bags and soiled cardboard. Readily recyclable materials like glass, metal and PET found in our waste feedstock are removed so that they can be processed anew via conventional recycling streams in Israel.
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.
The UBQ conversion process uses zero water and creates zero effluents. We regularly monitor and record water usage at our factory.
Our 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, including chemicals or water. The conversion process is energy efficient because it works at relatively low temperatures.
A ton of UBQ powder produced in our factory located in Israel has a negative carbon footprint of 11.7 tons of CO2 eq (GWP 20). This means that UBQ is more than carbon neutral—UBQ is carbon negative (i.e. climate positive).
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, provides an important benefit to the environment. It avoids significant greenhouse gas emissions from landfilled waste. In fact, to Quantis’ knowledge, UBQ material is “the most climate positive thermoplastic material in the market today.”
Has UBQ Materials done any impact assessments or a life cycle assessments (LCA) to prove reduction of emissions from UBQ™? Was the assessment externally validated?
Yes. Our LCA has been reviewed and validated by Quantis.
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 will include 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 2020.
What has UBQ Materials done to ensure that its social or environmental performance is a part of its decision-making over time?
In 2018 UBQ’s Board approved to the signing of a B-Corp Agreement, a legal form that requires consideration of all stakeholders.
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 has third-party certifications related to positive social and/or environmental performance, such as B-Corp, Life Cycle Assessment, and UNGC.
According to Quantis, 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. Operating under relatively low temperatures, the process has no combustion and produces no hazardous fumes.
All external third-party laboratory testing results demonstrate the UBQ Material is safe for people and for the environment according to the most stringent US & European hazardous waste rules, compliant under REACH, as well as Cradle-to-Cradle standards.
Based on this, the UBQ material is completely safe to use and does not present any health or safety concerns.
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.
The impact of landfill emissions in the short term is grossly underestimated. Landfills are the largest source of anthropogenic methane emissions and account for 1/6 of the global total human cost emissions.
Incineration is problematic because the process of burning waste is very energy-intensive and releases toxic micro dioxins and furans to the environment, while essentially burning valuable materials into ash.