Israeli firm UBQ Materials Ltd. has supplied 2,000 waste containers made of its own recycled plastic to the Central Virginia Waste Management Authority, and the company is also looking at opportunities to expand production into the U.S.
That group is using the containers as part of a pilot program, UBQ CEO and co-founder Tato Bigio said in a recent interview with Plastics News. The Tel Aviv-based firm's recycled plastic — also known as UBQ — can incorporate food waste, he added.
The production of UBQ material uses unsorted municipal solid waste as its primary feedstock, diverting it from landfills and reducing emissions, officials said. According to the firm's website, using 1 ton of UBQ material prevents the generation of up to 15 tons of carbon dioxide.
"Our technology takes household waste into different solutions," Bigio said. The waste containers were made for UBQ by Plasgad Plastic Products, an Israeli manufacturer that recently added a production site in Statesville, N.C.
UBQ is looking at expansion for its production site in Israel, which has annual production capacity of 11 million pounds. Bigio also said that UBQ hopes to add a U.S. production site in Virginia and that the firm is also looking at possible production sites in Ohio, Michigan, Texas and North Carolina.
Bigio added that the containers are being used by the waste management authority to increase recycling rates in the Richmond, Va., area. He founded UBQ along with Yehuda Pearl, founder of Sabra Dipping Co. LLC, which makes the top-selling brand of hummus in the U.S.
An Israeli media report said that UBQ has raised $27 million from private investors and from global venture capital fund Battery Ventures. An entry on the Battery Ventures website says that UBQ's technology "removes all the past assumptions about waste disposal, providing a robust, energy-efficient and upcycling solution that disrupts what was once inconceivable in a bold new way."
The Richmond-based Central Virginia waste authority offers waste and recycling programs for residential use in 13 Virginia communities. The organization was founded in 1990 to help municipalities meet the state's recycling requirements.
UBQ Chief Sustainability Officer Chris Sveen said UBQ material can be combined and mixed with other plastics such as polypropylene, high density polyethylene and PET. The resulting material can be used to replace virgin resin grades, he added.
UBQ material is available in powder or pellet form and is currently being used in commercial trials by several U.S. customers, Bigio said.