UBQ Materials looks to build its First Waste-To-Thermoplastic facility in the US

Date: April 5, 2024

Source: UBQ

UBQ, founded in 2012, has recently experienced significant growth in its production capabilities and established high-profile brand partnerships, fueled by increasing demand for bio-based and post-consumer recycled materials. The company raised $170 million in a funding round led by TPG Rise in 2021, enabling the construction of a new facility in the Netherlands and the development of innovative products from its unique material. UBQ's patented process involves removing metals and glass from mixed waste streams and using heat to break down the remaining materials into basic elements such as lignin, cellulose, fibers, and sugars. These elements are then reassembled into a thermoplastic matrix that can serve as an additive or replacement for conventional plastics, offering significant greenhouse gas savings according to a life cycle analysis by Quantis.

UBQ's material has been utilized in a wide range of durable and semi-durable products, including car parts, footwear, pallets, and secondary packaging, with notable customers like Mercedes-Benz, PepsiCo, and McDonald's. The company is currently exploring how to integrate its system into the U.S. market, considering aspects such as permitting and feedstock sourcing. UBQ's facility in the Netherlands has an annual capacity of handling 104,600 metric tons of material, and the company is assessing potential sources of material from municipalities or companies in the U.S. market. With a business model that aims to offer competitive tip fees and generate revenue from product sales, UBQ is poised for further expansion in North America and Europe. The increase in the production of post-consumer recycled materials driven by UBQ's new facility will certainly help firms and governments alike meet sustainability goals. Time will tell, however, if the revenue created by this new facility will allow UBQ to expand further into the US and Europe at the rate that the firm expects.

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