Virginia first in US to partner with international company aiming to turn trash into plastic alternative

Virginia News

RICHMOND, Va. — We’ve all heard the saying “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” Well, a new partnership between Virginia and an Israeli company hopes to put that expression to use. 

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, each person throws away about 4 pounds of trash each day. In 2015, more than 50 percent went to landfills, 25 percent was recycled and 8 percent was composted.

A possible solution is a new business opportunity for the Commonwealth. Members of the General Assembly and the Virginia Israeli Advisory Board have been building a partnership between the two states. 

Over the past few years, UBQ Materials, based in Israel, has been developing a process to use leftover food scraps and paper, such as diapers or paper towels, to create a renewable compound that could as an alternative to plastic. Right now, it is being combined with plastics to make products, such as bins.

UBQ Materials’ honorary chairman Yehuda Pearl, also the founder of Sabra Hummus, says the process uses “a very small amount of energy with absolutely no toxic of ill effects to the environment.” 

As part of a new partnership, CVWMA purchased 2,000 recycling bins from UBQ Materials that were shipped from their headquarters. Virginia is the first state in the country to have this partnership.

“We recycle as much as we can. This technology is going to enhance what we’re doing,” Kim Hynes, the Executive Director of Central Virginia Waste Management Authority, said. 

Each bin cost $12, which is about the same price for the recycling bins CVWMA usually purchases.  The bins will be distributed to customers in the next few weeks. 

UBQ Materials is looking to open a headquarters and plant in the United States next year, which would bring approximately 250 new jobs to a community. Company officials say Virginia is being considered for the location. 

Tato Bigio, the CEO and Co-Founder of UBQ Materials, said the company would need a few things to open up shop, including a reliable partner to get waste from for their products, an appropriate industrial site location, as well as state and federal incentives.  

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