Chemical Week is the chemical industry’s world-leading source of news, data, and analysis. It offers timely and valuable insights that allow organizations to make better decisions, plan marketing campaigns, and reach international decision-makers across different sectors. It also produces a popular podcast that covers everything from digital distribution to sustainability.
Recently, UBQ Materials’ VP of Sales, Sophie Tuviahu and retail solutions supplier Mainetti’s Jeffrey Hsu joined the podcast to discuss their partnership that’s focused on converting household waste into useful everyday products.
The UBQ/Mainetti Partnership
Mainetti is the world’s largest provider of garment hangers with 6,000 employees in 90 locations on six continents. It recently launched health and safety products to meet important needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. The company is well known for its sustainability and recycling practices and is excited about its partnership with UBQ. Like UBQ, Mainetti is focused on important sustainability goals in the areas of climate change, sustainable resources, waste reduction, and fair employer and fair partner initiatives. To that end, Mainetti’s total carbon footprint has dropped 22% since 2012 and continues on a downward trajectory.
While the partnership is still developing, both Tuviahu and Hsu see themselves as like-minded partners committed to discovering and supplying new and novel materials. For Mainetti, a processor of raw materials and then a reuser and recycler, there’s a need for constant innovation. When the company’s director of sustainability for the Far East reported he had found a “miracle material” that would drop easily into their manufacturing processes and provide incredible climate-positive benefits, Hsu asked, “Who wouldn’t want something like that?”
Still, the prospect seemed too good to be true, so Mainetti sent a team to Israel right before the pandemic started. People from Italy, the U.K., the U.S.A., and the Far East attended and went over the process with Tuviahu and her team. As Hsu says, “the rest is history,” and the two companies are well on their way to launching the project within the next two months, or early 2021.
Bringing Value to Consumers
Tuviahu says from UBQ’s point of view, it’s really very important to partner with companies that bring real value to the consumer. With Mainetti, she says, that’s exactly what they’re doing, “reaching every home with a sustainable product that has a reduced carbon footprint using UBQ Material.” This perfectly aligns with UBQ’s goal of providing everyone, not only the plastics industry, with a more sustainable alternative to everyday products.
Tuviahu knows that one of the most difficult hurdles in developing the market for UBQ Material is overcoming a potential partner’s skepticism. But once they come and see that “it’s really real,” it’s much easier. UBQ created a fully industrialized process at its Israeli location that while being a small-scale facility has all the stages that can be validated and inspected by any industrial partner who wants to have a look at how it’s done.
The Mainetti team made the trip to Israel in February 2020 and witnessed the entire process from the arrival of the waste from a waste hauler truck through to quality assurance. That, according to Tuviahu, helped them understand that although UBQ was a small start-up, “we have built a very solid platform to comply with the requirements of well-established industries such as Mainetti.”
Mainetti, Hsu says, sees UBQ as unlike any other sustainable material the company has tried. He views it as close to a drop-in technology as possible, compatible with some plastics like polypropylene that Mainetti uses in its products. That, he says, has made it easy to introduce UBQ’s raw material into their existing productions.
A Growing Network of Suppliers
This short podcast is packed with even more terrific information about sustainability, UBQ Materials’ role in a circular economy, and possible partnerships with other companies that manufacture products Mainetti doesn’t. Give the podcast a listen to learn more about:
Why sustainable practices are so important to Mainetti and how the company became a pioneer in the global circular economy.
The challenges faced when integrating UBQ material into Mainetti’s product, include testing and compliance.
The many levels of support UBQ offers its partners.
As Tuviahu puts it, partnerships with companies like Mainetti allow UBQ to continue its development of applications that were not at the core of its business when it started. Working with companies who are eager to implement raw materials like UBQ into their products bodes well for future sustainability collaborations.
Listen to the full podcast here.