This material made of garbage could reduce big events’ carbon footprints

The material in question is UBQ, a thermoplastic made from unsorted waste; and it’ll be used at PLANETech World 2022.

 UBQ thermoplastic in its raw form; UBQ can be used in a wide array of products, from coat hangers to frisbees to flower pots and more (photo credit: UBQ MATERIALS)
UBQ thermoplastic in its raw form; UBQ can be used in a wide array of products, from coat hangers to frisbees to flower pots and more
(photo credit: UBQ MATERIALS)

If you love climate tech and conferences and dislike plastic, you should consider being in Tel Aviv later this month.

PLANETech World 2022 kicks off on September 21 as the first global conference to utilize the climate-positive material known as UBQ into temporary building structures. The trade event will reduce the carbon footprint of its own construction by using UBQ in place of conventional plastic.

UBQ, a material produced by the company UBQ Materials, is produced from unsorted household waste (including all organics) into a post-consumer recycled thermoplastic, which can be used to manufacture a host of durable products.

In partnership with UBQ Materials and thermoplastic sheets manufacturer Palram, elements of PLANETech World’s infrastructure will be composed of Palboard multilayered PVC panels made with UBQ. This is expected to partially mitigate the potential environmental damage caused by hosting the event physically, rather than digitally as has become more normal in the wake of COVID-19.

“In-person conferences better enable climate tech innovators to collaborate with global stakeholders, but the climate impact of these events directly conflicts with the changes they are working to bring about,” said PLANETech Director Uriel Klar.

 UBQ thermoplastic in its raw form; UBQ can be used in a wide array of products, from coat hangers to frisbees to flower pots and more (credit: UBQ MATERIALS) UBQ thermoplastic in its raw form; UBQ can be used in a wide array of products, from coat hangers to frisbees to flower pots and more (credit: UBQ MATERIALS)

“By incorporating UBQ into our structures, we are creating a platform for climate-tech companies to showcase their work, share knowledge, forge new partnerships and promote implementation, all while staying true to the goal of lower emissions and a healthier planet.”

The Palram building panels prevent up to 12 tons of CO2 equivalent for every ton of UBQ used, and will be collected by the manufacturer immediately following the event to be recycled into new panels. The conference will be the company’s flagship use of its product at this scale, but Palram CEO Shai Michael is confident it will be followed by many others.

“Manufacturers around the world recognize that sustainability is now the rule rather than the exception, so being first to market with a circular solution is imperative,” said Michael. “PLANETech World is the inaugural use case, but we see incredible potential for PVC sheets made with UBQ in point of sale, signage and other promotional items that are generally single use.”

As climate change awareness increases throughout the globe, more and more inventors, companies and individuals are finding ways to convert waste into useful materials, thereby diverting it from landfills for at least a little while longer. According to Tato Bigio, co-founder and co-CEO of UBQ Materials, big tech conferences could be next on to join the party.

“Every product can be reimagined to have big environmental impact with simple material replacements,” said Bigio. “By replacing oil-based plastics with UBQ in conference infrastructures, we are demonstrating that events, as well as the larger building and construction industry, can serve as engines of a circular economy.”