They may demand avocado on their toast and they may be social media addicts, but millennials are responsible for the optimism we can have about our future in regards to climate change. UBQ Materials Co-Founder and CEO, Jack (Tato) Bigio, has high hopes for future generations due to the urgency felt by young people and their demands to become more environmentally responsible.
“The future looks amazing because millennials are very aware of what’s happening on the planet and they are going to the streets and asking for a change, and companies need to respond to that,” Bigio told CTech. UBQ helps turn regular household waste such as food or diapers into a renewable resource. Through a patented process, waste that was once destined for landfills is transformed into a ‘UBQ Material’, an infinitely renewable thermoplastic resource. This material can then be purchased by brands or companies to help them with their packaging, reducing their footprint and improving the environment.
“All the big companies you know - Coca-Cola, Mcdonalds, Unilever - have become vocal about their intentions to cut carbon emission and their waste production in the next few years,” Bigio said. “There’s a climate emergency and we’re all seeing the effect of climate change. Companies are taking it upon themselves to do something.”
It’s no surprise that companies are more cautious about their environmental impact, especially when young people are so vocal about their concerns - and some inevitably entering the workforces of these companies. With Millennials making up 38% of the workforce
- and protesting in the streets when they’re not in the office - it means that a real impact can be made to help reduce carbon emissions for our collective futures.
“If (companies) can source materials that are climate positive, then it’s a no-brainer. You will always choose a green alternative versus a non-green alternative subject to having the same commercial benefits,” Bigio said. This is where UBQ Materials has a chance to assist in that challenge: by providing climate-positive raw materials and helping displace oil-based resources with renewable plastic products, the company can help brands and companies reduce their footprints.
It’s not just private companies taking a radical step in combating climate change. According to Bigio, EU law dictates that any package used by a company must commit to using 30% recyclable material, and the upcoming Biden Administration intends to rejoin the Paris Accords dedicated to a global effort to reduce carbon emissions.
“There is a climate problem and you can’t ignore it just because you don’t want to deal with it,” Bigio said. “There are a lot of challenges, in terms of the policy, to support these efforts. On a world scale, this is something I’m seeing. You will hear about it more and more. You can see young people going to the streets just shouting. I think this will do something, and we will start to be more conscious of our natural resources.”
UBQ Materials was founded in 2012 by Bigio, Rany Lev, and Yehuda Pearl who serve as General Counsel and Chairman, respectively. It has recently partnered with Motherson to help turn diapers into renewable car parts and will establish a second plant
in The Netherlands to keep up with increased demand. It is expected that the new facility will produce more than 70,000 tons of UBQ per year. In total, the company has raised $27 million.