Consumer goods manufacturer Keter Group has announced a new collaboration with UBQ materials in which Keter commits to using UBQ’s waste-based thermoplastic material in a number of its product lines. The companies have entered into a three-year contact, with Keter planning for production using the material worldwide.
UBQ, an Israel-based certified B Corp, has developed technology to covert residual municipal solid waste, or RMSW, into what the company claims is a ‘homogeneous composite material that can be utilised by industry’. The technology has also won the 2020 Future of Plastics Award and was recognised in January by the Finnish Quality Association with a 2020 Quality Innovation Award.
The company’s proprietary process takes the unsorted, mixed-waste residual stream and breaks this down into its basic organic components such as lignin, cellulose, fibers and sugars. These are subsequently reassembled and bound together into a matrix. The mixed plastics that constitute the remaining 20-30% melt and bond into the matrix to create a novel composite thermoplastic material. The only elements that are removed and recycled in the process are minerals and metals.
Because of the high level of organic waste in this residual waste stream, the resin is classified as bio-based.
According to Keter, a leading producer of among other things, outdoor furniture, using UBQ’s thermoplastic will support its efforts to achieve its goal of incorporating 55 percent recycled content in its manufactured products within the next five years.
"To reach our climate goals, we are going far beyond the classic recycling method,” said Iftach Sachar, MD Global Sustainability, Marketing and Innovation of Keter Group.
"This partnership will allow us to differentiate ourselves in the market, bringing a new level of sustainability to consumers and retailers without compromising on quality or competitive pricing of our products."
Every ton of UBQ produced prevents nearly 12 tons of CO2-eq from polluting the environment.
"Innovation aimed to halt climate change exists and is readily available, but its ability to impact is dependent on the adoption and implementation across industries," said Tato Bigio, co-founder and CEO of UBQ Materials.
Among the companies with whom UBQ is currently collaborating are global retail solutions provider Mainetti, Daimler and Arcos Dorados, the world's largest franchisee of McDonald's restaurants across Latin America. The latter collaboration will see 7,000 serving trays made with UBQ's material introduced throughout Brazil.
In order to better meet demand, UBQ has announced that it is constructing an industrial-scale production facility in the Netherlands, which will have an annual production output of over 72,000 tons per year. One-third of this output has already been allocated to Keter.
The group, which operates in 100 countries and has 21 plants in Israel, Europe and North America, is majority-owned by the private equity firm BC Partners, which purchased 80 percent of the company for €1.4 billion in 2016.