The Central Virginia Waste Management Authority (CVWMA) recently launched a partnership with UBQ Materials, an Israeli company that has developed a patented process to convert unsorted household waste into a plastic substitute that can be made into everyday goods. CVWMA is the first organization in the U.S. to leverage this solution, according to UBQ.
As part of the pilot program, CVWMA is offering 2,000 recycling bins made with UBQ Material, a proprietary composite of unsorted organic, paper and plastic waste—everything from banana peels, to dirty diapers, to used yogurt containers, to cardboard. The bins recently arrived in Central Virginia after being shipped from Israel.
According to Quantis, a provider of environmental impact assessments, every ton of UBQ Material produced diverts up to 12 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent.
CVWMA provides waste management and recycling services for 13 area governments, including Richmond, Chesterfield and Herico.
“At CVWMA, we work every day to provide the best waste management and recycling programs for our 1.5 million customers in central Virginia,” said Kim Hynes, executive director of CVWMA, in a statement. “Our partnership with UBQ is an extension of our efforts—finding a productive way to deal with waste and improve the community around us.”
Founded in 2012 by Rabbi Yehuda Pearl, founder of the popular hummus brand Sabra, and Tato Bigio, a renewable energy leader, UBQ Materials takes unsorted household waste—consisting of roughly 80 percent organic material and 20 percent plastic—and converts it into a bio-based thermoplastic that can be integrated into existing manufacturing processes. The company breaks down this waste to a nearly molecular level, combining its most basic organic components (lignin, cellulose, sugar, fibers) together with plastic. The end result, called UBQ Material, is a bio-based, climate positive composite material.
“I want to express my gratitude to the Commonwealth of Virginia for the generosity of spirit, with which I have always been welcomed here. Virginia has been an amazing place to grow and innovate because of the spirit of its people,” said Pearl, co-founder and honorary chairman of UBQ, in a statement. “We continue to be grateful to Kim Hynes of the CWMA and to the Virginia Israel Advisory Board, which helped us to make our first commercial sale of waste bins in the United States. I am sure that this partnership will lead to great opportunities for UBQ and our partners, just as I am sure that it will help create a better future and a cleaner world.”
“As a company, we dream of a world in which waste is never truly wasted and are so pleased that Virginians and the CVWMA share our vision,” said Bigio, CEO and co-founder of UBQ, in a statement. “We’re hopeful that within a few years, every Virginian will be able to dispose of their recycling in a UBQ bin and many more products will be made out of this remarkable material.”