Net Zero Compare

UBQ Materials: Transforming Waste into Climate-Positive Solutions for a Sustainable Future

Written by Karol Kaczmarek
Published May 22nd, 2024
UBQ Materials: Transforming Waste into Climate-Positive Solutions for a Sustainable Future
10 min read
Updated June 2nd, 2024
Our principle

Cut through the green tape

We don’t push agendas. At Net Zero Compare, we cut through the hype and fear to deliver the straightforward facts you need for making informed decisions on green products and services. Whether motivated by compliance, customer demands, or a real passion for the environment, you’re welcome here. We provide reliable information—why you seek it is not our concern.

UBQ Materials is a pioneering company focused on transforming unsorted household waste into a sustainable thermoplastic material. Founded in 2012, UBQ utilizes a patented conversion process to turn landfill-destined municipal solid waste, including organics like banana peels and chicken bones, into a climate-positive, cost-competitive, and fully recyclable raw material called UBQ™. This material can replace conventional plastics, wood, and concrete in various manufacturing processes without additional adaptation costs.

UBQ™ is designed to support a circular economy by diverting waste from landfills and reducing the carbon footprint of products. The produced material is compatible with standard manufacturing processes like injection molding, compression molding, extrusion, and 3D printing, and can be compounded with additives to meet specific product requirements​.

The company collaborates with major brands such as Mercedes-Benz, McDonald's, and PepsiCo, integrating UBQ™ into their products to advance their sustainability goals​. UBQ Materials is also a Certified B Corporation™, meeting high standards of social and environmental performance.

UBQ Materials is dedicated to redefining waste management and materials science. Their mission is to convert household waste into valuable, sustainable resources, thus supporting a circular economy and reducing global carbon emissions.

Did you know that for every ton of UBQ™ produced, it prevents up to 11.7 tons of CO2 equivalent emissions from polluting the environment? This breakthrough not only diverts waste from landfills but also offers a sustainable alternative to traditional plastics, playing a crucial role in the fight against climate change.

Company Background

UBQ Materials was founded in 2012 in Israel with the vision of transforming the way we manage waste and manufacture materials. The company achieved significant milestones, including developing and patenting a process that converts unsorted municipal solid waste into a renewable thermoplastic material. Over the years, UBQ Materials has garnered international recognition and expanded its operations, working with major brands to integrate UBQ™ into their products, thus promoting sustainability on a global scale.

The company was co-founded by Tato Bigio and Jack Bigio, who also serve as Co-CEOs. Tato Bigio has a background in engineering and entrepreneurship, with significant experience in the cleantech sector. Jack Bigio brings extensive experience in business development and strategic management. Together, they have built UBQ Materials into a leader in sustainable material innovation. Other key executives include Albert Douer, Chairman of the Board, who has a strong background in global business management and sustainability.

The organization has successfully raised funds through multiple investment rounds, attracting significant interest from venture capital firms and sustainability-focused investors. Some of the notable investors include Closed Loop Partners, a New York-based investment firm focused on building the circular economy. In recent years, UBQ has secured additional funding to scale its operations and expand its production capabilities, supporting its mission to transform waste management and material production worldwide.

Products and Services

Core Products/Services: UBQ Materials offers a unique product, UBQ™, a climate-positive thermoplastic material derived from unsorted household waste. This innovative material can replace traditional plastics, wood, and concrete in various manufacturing processes. UBQ™ is versatile and can be used in numerous applications, including automotive parts, construction materials, packaging, and consumer goods. By utilizing waste that would otherwise end up in landfills, UBQ™ significantly reduces greenhouse gas emissions and supports a circular economy​.

Innovation and Technology: UBQ Materials employs a patented advanced waste conversion technology that breaks down and transforms municipal solid waste into a homogenous thermoplastic composite. This process involves the conversion of mixed waste streams, including organic materials, plastics, and other non-recyclable waste, into a single, renewable material. The innovative aspect of UBQ’s technology is its ability to handle a wide range of waste inputs without the need for prior sorting or separation.

The UBQ™ material is compatible with existing manufacturing processes such as injection molding, compression molding, extrusion, and 3D printing. It can be compounded with additives to meet specific product requirements, making it highly adaptable for various industrial applications​​. This technological advancement not only reduces the environmental impact of waste but also provides manufacturers with a sustainable alternative to traditional raw materials.

Case Studies

Mercedes-Benz: UBQ Materials partnered with Mercedes-Benz to integrate UBQ™ into the manufacturing of automotive parts. The collaboration focuses on producing durable, sustainable materials for car interiors, contributing to the carmaker's sustainability goals and reducing the carbon footprint of their vehicles. This partnership exemplifies how UBQ™ can be seamlessly incorporated into high-quality manufacturing processes​.

McDonald's: In a notable case study, McDonald's used UBQ™ material for various items within their supply chain. This initiative helped the fast-food giant to reduce waste and enhance the sustainability of its operations. The use of UBQ™ in everyday items like serving trays demonstrated the material's versatility and environmental benefits, reinforcing McDonald's commitment to sustainability​.

PepsiCo: PepsiCo has also utilized UBQ™ in its packaging solutions. By incorporating UBQ™ into their supply chain, PepsiCo aimed to minimize its environmental impact and promote the use of sustainable materials. This case highlights UBQ’s ability to provide eco-friendly alternatives in the food and beverage industry.

Arcos Dorados: Arcos Dorados, the largest independent McDonald's franchisee in Latin America, adopted UBQ™ for its logistics operations. This implementation not only reduced waste but also supported the company's sustainability targets by integrating renewable materials into its operational framework.

Market Position

The waste management and sustainable materials industry is evolving rapidly as the world seeks to address the pressing issues of waste disposal and carbon emissions. The industry is moving towards circular economy models, where waste is minimized, and materials are continuously reused. UBQ Materials fits into this landscape as a trailblazer, converting unsorted household waste into a valuable, climate-positive thermoplastic material. This innovation aligns with global efforts to reduce landfill dependency and promote sustainable manufacturing practices.

Competitors: Major competitors in the sustainable materials and waste conversion industry include companies like:

  • Agilyx: Specializes in converting difficult-to-recycle plastics into valuable commodities like synthetic crude oil and other petrochemical products.

  • Loop Industries: Focuses on breaking down PET plastic waste into its base chemicals to produce high-purity, food-grade PET plastic.

  • Plastic Energy: Uses patented technology to transform end-of-life plastic waste into hydrocarbon products, which can be used to make new plastics.

What sets UBQ Materials apart is its ability to process a broad spectrum of unsorted household waste, including organic materials, without requiring prior separation or sorting. This capability makes UBQ™ a unique, highly versatile material that can replace traditional plastics in various applications, offering a significant environmental advantage by preventing substantial amounts of CO2 equivalent emissions.

Challenges:

  • Market Penetration: Convincing manufacturers to adopt new materials and integrate them into existing processes can be challenging, especially when they are accustomed to traditional plastics.

  • Regulatory Hurdles: Navigating the regulatory landscape across different regions can be complex, particularly in ensuring that UBQ™ meets all safety and quality standards for diverse applications.

Opportunities:

  • Growing Demand for Sustainable Materials: As companies and consumers increasingly prioritize sustainability, the demand for eco-friendly materials like UBQ™ is likely to grow.

  • Expansion into New Markets: UBQ Materials has opportunities to expand its footprint globally by establishing new production facilities and forming partnerships with international brands.

  • Innovation and R&D: Continued investment in research and development can lead to new applications and improvements in the UBQ™ material, further enhancing its market appeal and environmental impact​.

Sustainability and Impact

Environmental Impact: UBQ Materials has a profound impact on reducing carbon emissions and promoting sustainability. By converting household waste into UBQ™, the company prevents substantial amounts of CO2 equivalent emissions. Each ton of UBQ™ produced can prevent up to 11.7 tons of CO2 emissions, significantly contributing to climate change mitigation efforts. This innovative process also reduces landfill dependency and minimizes the environmental footprint of manufacturing industries.

Certifications and Awards: UBQ Materials has received several recognitions validating its environmental efforts:

  • Certified B Corporation™: This certification attests to UBQ's commitment to high social and environmental performance standards.

  • Solar Impulse Efficient Solution Label: Awarded for their innovative and sustainable UBQ™ material.

  • Climate Positive Award: Recognizes UBQ's role in developing climate-positive solutions that contribute to carbon neutrality​.

Future Goals: UBQ Materials aims to expand its production capabilities globally, establishing new facilities to meet increasing demand. The company is committed to continuous innovation in waste conversion technology and exploring new applications for UBQ™. Future goals also include further partnerships with global brands to integrate UBQ™ into their products, thereby amplifying the positive environmental impact​.

Community and Social Responsibility

UBQ Materials actively engages with local communities and participates in global sustainability initiatives. They collaborate with municipalities to source waste and educate the public on the importance of waste management and sustainability.

UBQ partners with academic institutions to promote research in waste management and materials science. They also offer educational programs to raise awareness about sustainable practices and the benefits of circular economy models.

Customer and Public Perception

Customers of UBQ™ products, including major brands like Mercedes-Benz, McDonald's, and PepsiCo, have praised the material for its sustainability and versatility. Testimonials often highlight the ease of integrating UBQ™ into existing manufacturing processes and its positive environmental impact​. The company has received significant media coverage in prominent publications, including Forbes, The Guardian, and Reuters. These articles often emphasize UBQ's innovative approach to waste management and its potential to revolutionize the materials industry​.

UBQ Materials employs a robust PR strategy focused on transparency, education, and showcasing their impact. The company frequently participates in industry conferences, sustainability forums, and public discussions to advocate for sustainable practices and share their success stories.

Summary

UBQ Materials stands out in the carbon zero emission industry for its groundbreaking approach to waste management and material production. By transforming unsorted household waste into UBQ™, a climate-positive thermoplastic, the company significantly reduces carbon emissions and landfill dependency. This innovative process not only addresses the issue of waste disposal but also provides a sustainable alternative to traditional materials, thus contributing to a circular economy. UBQ Materials' ability to convert a wide variety of waste, including organic matter, into valuable products underscores its potential to make a substantial environmental impact.

The company's commitment to sustainability is evident in its collaborations with major global brands such as Mercedes-Benz, McDonald's, and PepsiCo. These partnerships not only validate the practical applications of UBQ™ but also highlight its versatility and effectiveness in different industries. The recognition UBQ Materials has received through various certifications and awards, including its status as a Certified B Corporation™, further underscores its role as a leader in sustainable innovation. These accolades reflect the company's adherence to high standards of environmental and social performance, reinforcing its reputation in the market.

Looking to the future, UBQ Materials has set ambitious goals for expansion and innovation. The company aims to establish new production facilities worldwide to meet the growing demand for sustainable materials. This global expansion will likely enhance the company's capacity to divert waste from landfills and reduce the carbon footprint of manufacturing processes on a larger scale. Additionally, continuous investment in research and development is expected to lead to further advancements in the UBQ™ material, opening up new applications and improving its environmental benefits.

In summary, UBQ Materials exemplifies how businesses can drive significant environmental change through innovation and sustainable practices. By transforming waste into valuable resources, the company not only addresses critical environmental challenges but also supports the broader transition to a circular economy. As UBQ Materials continues to grow and evolve, its contributions to sustainability and its role in reducing carbon emissions are poised to expand, solidifying its importance in the carbon zero emission industry.


Karol Kaczmarek
Written by:
Karol Kaczmarek
Co-Founder of Net Zero Compare
Karol is a seasoned entrepreneur and co-founder of A&K Ventures OÜ. With a strong foundation in quantitative economics, he has a proven track record in strategic consulting, real estate, and global business expansion. Karol is dedicated to leveraging innovative technologies and creative business strategies to drive growth and transformation in every venture.