“We take something that is not only not useful, but that creates a lot of damage to our planet, and we're able to turn it into the things we use every day.”
An Israeli company has developed a technology to produce sustainable plastic with materials that are available at almost limitless supplies and which are causing untold damage to the environment: landfill rubbish. The process from UBQ, which has been patented following five years of work, breaks down commonly recycled items such as glass and metals while remaining refuse like food are dried and milled into a powder.
The ability to put to use otherwise unrecyclable rubbish has been made possible, says UBQ, thanks to a technique that converts that waste into a homogeneous and sustainable and commercially valuable material. From every tonne of that material produced – a grey powder which contributes no greenhouse gas emissions and which requires no water in its production – between three and 30 tonnes of CO2 are prevented from entering the atmosphere, according to the Negev-based company (@UBQ_Materials).
Yet to be tested on an industrial scale, the company has attempted to convince critics of the project who doubt the viability of waste-to-plastic processing by convincing them of the project’s modularity that means it can be quickly and easily installed. UBQ’s small plant can currently process one tonne of landfill waste every hour, a capacity that would mean it would struggle to cope with the output of most towns and cities.
As reported by Associated Press, UBQ said its eco-plastic could also be used to offset the carbon footprint of plastic by using its products as an additive. Though not preventing the plastic’s ability to decompose or degrade, it would be able to be used in products such as bricks, plant pots, cans, and construction materials. "We take something that is not only not useful, but that creates a lot of damage to our planet, and we're able to turn it into the things we use every day," said Albert Douer, the UBQ executive chairman.
There have been many varied alternatives to fossil-based plastics in recent times, with notable examples reported by Bio-Based World News that included an orange peel-derived plastic packaging; medical equipment using bio-plastic made from toxic waste; and beeswax engineered cling film that completely biodegrades. Lego is another company that has taken its first steps towards a bio-based future, after it announced last month it has begun production of a toy range made from plant-based polyethylene.
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