Tech spotlight with Tato Bigio, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of UBQ Materials.
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Tech spotlight with Tato Bigio, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of UBQ Materials.

We sat down with Tato Bigio, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of UBQ Materials, to learn more about the opportunities he sees in creating a circular economy within the waste management industry, as well as UBQ's journey to becoming the most "climate-positive thermoplastic on the market."

By 
SOSA editorial team
November 2021
"The heart of what we do and why we do it: empower industries with a simple transition to a cleaner world."
Photo by SOSA team

SOSA: Hey Tato, thanks for joining us today. Can you tell us more about the UBQ journey, why you started, and the science behind creating the most “climate-positive thermoplastic material on the market”?

TB: The heart of what we do and why we do it: empower industries with a simple transition to a cleaner world. UBQ developed a novel technology that converts household waste aimed to landfill into a functional and cost-effective substitute to plastic, wood or concrete in endless industrial applications.


We understood the chemistry and the tools required to transform unsorted waste into a valuable material resource; the challenge would be to do it in a way that was efficient, economic and scalable enough to create global impact. After nearly 7 years in stealth mode R&D, we developed a patented conversion process that receives unsorted, landfill-destined waste, including all organics, and turns it into UBQ™. The process is highly energy efficient, using no water, and producing no effluents. The resulting material is a bio-based, recyclable thermoplastic that is used seamlessly in existing manufacturing processes to produce everything from consumer goods, auto parts, and even 3D printing filaments.  

The universal applicability of UBQ™ is critical when you understand that every ton of UBQTM produced prevents nearly 12 tons of CO2 equivalent emissions, deeming it the most climate-positive thermoplastic on the market.

SOSA: When did you decide to look at waste management through an economic lens?
TB: The economic short-sightedness of the linear, “take, make, waste” economy results in depleted finite natural resources, volatile raw materials markets, and a massive oversupply of landfill-destined waste worldwide. We envisioned a truly circular economy where human consumption lives in harmony with the planet.

“Waste” is not an inevitable byproduct of consumption; it is the result of our inability to harness value from discarded resources. It is within this monumental gap that UBQ Materials is positioned - we convert seemingly worthless refuse into a valuable material resource.

"Waste” is not an inevitable byproduct of consumption; it is the result of our inability to harness value from discarded resources.
Photo by Nick Fewings

SOSA: Corporations like McDonald’s and Mercedes-Benz have turned to open innovation to collaborate with you. Can you tell us a bit more about these partnerships, and if there are any more in the pipeline?

 TB: When industry leaders such as McDonald’s and Mercedes-Benz integrate UBQ™ into their supply chains, they are setting an actionable example of sustainable material implementation across industries. The high quality and compatibility of our material is easier to communicate when it has already withstood the rigorous testing of the automotive industry and indisputably high standards of Mercedes-Benz.  

What’s incredible about our work with these brands is that our communication thus far speaks merely of the tip of the iceberg of what we have lined up to develop together. They understand that the wider the application of UBQ™ throughout their operations, the more plastic is replaced, the more waste is diverted, the more emissions prevented, and the closer they come to achieving their Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

We are very fortunate that we have a pipeline full of exciting partnership news currently under embargo.

Photo by Jordan Brierley

"When industry leaders such as McDonald’s and Mercedes-Benz integrate UBQ™ into their supply chains, they are setting an actionable example of sustainable material implementation across industries."

SOSA: Give us a sneak peek. Is there anything you’re working on at UBQ the world should look out for?

TB: We recently announced partnerships with two global manufacturers: Bazan Group’s subsidiary, Carmel Olefins (CAOL), Israel’s sole manufacturer of petrochemicals for raw materials in the plastics industry and Polyram Group, a leading international supplier of high-performance thermoplastic compounds for the automotive sector and beyond. These partnerships move UBQ up in the materials supply chain, widening access to the greater materials industry for more sustainable manufacturing. We have more such partnerships in store, so stay tuned.

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