Plastic Alternative : Israeli start-up devises way to convert used nappies into green plastics

diaper garbage nappies trash used baby bag bathroom bin cal change container diapers dirty disposable disposal dump dumpster ecology environment feces female garbage can mother nappy newborn pail parent poop recycling rubbish separate separation shit smelly stained stench stool throw away throw out utilized waste wet woman
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UBQ Materials is researching a way for turning common household waste into sustainable plastics.

The Tel Aviv based start-up is set on developing a material out of the likes of paper, mixed plastics, food residue and dirty diapers that could serve as a substitute to conventional plastic, wood and concrete.

This material could then be incorporated in multiple products, ranging from bricks and pipes to furniture, auto parts and shipping pallets.

According to data sourced from the World Bank, each year around 2 billion tonnes of household waste is generated. Annually, 70% of it is openly dumped or sent to landfill. This figure is set to grow by a further 70% in 2050. Waste disposed of in this way tends to generate methane, a climate pollutant with a significant warming potential-as such, over 20 years, one tonne of methane causes 72 times more warming than one ton of carbon dioxide.

UBQ Materials plans to address this problem by eliminating minerals and metals from household waste, shredding the remainder to its molecular building blocks (ex. sugar and cellulose) and then reassembling and binding the organic waste to thermoplastics, that is, plastics that can be remoulded for use in other products.

The Israeli company says that its patented material does not only present a way of lowering methane emissions but also a way to prevent the leaking of hazardous chemicals into groundwater.

UBQ is also keen on combatting the plastic crisis.

In a trial with global fast food chain McDonalds, the company is trialling the use of 7,200 of its bespoke serving trays. These are set to replace conventional plastic trays currently in use in 30 select Brazilian McDonald’s restaurants, with the first stage of the trial hoped to eliminate more than 3,000 kg of carbon.

UBQ is also involved in the transformation of household bin bags into new products sourced from sustainable thermoplastic.

The Israeli-based clean-tech company will also be building its first full-scale production facility in the Netherlands. Upon completion in 2022, UBQ intends to produce 70,000 tonnes of its bespoke thermoplastics each year.

Yet thermoplastics alone will not spell the solution to our current plastic crisis.

The World Economic Forum’s Global Plastic Innovation Network (GPIN), an open collaboration platform designed to harness the power of technological innovation in the fight against plastic solution, suggests a holistic approach.

The network proposes the implementation of sustainable planning across the whole plastic value chain, going from initial product design to waste management and recovery to the compilation of comprehensive data on the subject as well as the crafting of audience engagement strategies.