Last month, CI had the chance to meet with several early-stage firms which have raised capital on OurCrowd or are planning to do so in the future. One of these innovative firms is UBQ Materials – a company that has developed a process to make sustainable plastic out of garbage. While this may sound too good to be true, we had the opportunity to discuss the process and the company’s vision with one of UBQs executives, Sophie Tuviahu, VP of Business Development at UBQ.
First of all, UBQ stands for ubiquitous – which trash or garbage is.
We all generate quite a bit of waste, and while we diligently separate and sort recyclables, we also know that frequently our best efforts are for naught as these items too frequently end up in a landfill somewhere – perhaps in southeast Asia. Meanwhile, we dump our garbage in a landfill and bury it – almost wishing it away. None of this is optimal.
Over eight years, UBQ developed a process where it took a cheap commodity product – garbage – you can get it for free, and then separate it into several basic elements, and then repackaging these elements into plastic using organic material as a binder:
“organic components (lignin, cellulose, fibers, and sugars) and bound by the waste stream’s plastics polymers to create a novel material called UBQ.”
UBQ has a business model that is based on a “circular economy,” eliminating waste as a byproduct.
The plastic produced is said to be cost-competitive and is in use today by very big manufacturers. The company pointed to Mercedes as a customer. Others include Mcdonald’s, Pepsi, and more. Everyone wants to be sustainable today.
The garbage is turned into pellets which can be used for various types of plastic products. The characteristics of the pellets can be adjusted to cater to the needs of a specific manufacturer.
In Israel, where the company is located, no one separates their garbage, so they have an endless supply of raw materials to create plastic. The entire process is said to be climate positive.
UBQ is not currently raising money as it completed a $170 million funding round at the end of 2021. The next funding round will be used for a new plant to be built in the US, which is expected to be built in the state of New York. Perhaps then, you may have a chance to consider UBQ as an investment option.
While at the OurCrowd Global Investor Summit, UBQ Materials was showcased by Honda Xcelerator, a partner of OurCrowd. At that time, UBQ explained that by transforming waste into a usable and endless material, UBQ preserves finite resources for future generations. Currently, the company reports that it is preventing 1.3 tons of landfill waste for every ton of UBQ produced and diverting up to 11.7 tons of CO₂eq emissions.
Tuviahu said that UBQ currently does not have any competitors while declaring that “we need all the solutions to come into place,” adding that the problem is not the plastic – “it is disposing of it in a good way.”
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