An environmentally friendly thermoplastic material produced from household trash will be substituted for plastic at some McDonald’s restaurants in Uruguay during the first quarter of 2020.
This is made possible by a new partnership between Israeli company UBQ and Arcos Dorados Holdings, the largest independent McDonald’s franchise in the world with over 2,200 restaurants in Latin America and the Caribbean.
“Who would have thought that the materials used and discarded daily by society, and within a restaurant, could be upcycled into the durable products that surround us? Our innovative manufacturing process generates a zero or even a negative carbon emission balance, helping reduce global warming,” said Albert Douer, executive chairman of UBQ.
“Each ton of UBQ material produced is the equivalent of the carbon emission reduction of 540 trees,” he added.
Gabriel Serber, Director of Social Commitment and Sustainable Development for Arcos Dorados, said, “As leaders in our sector we have the responsibility of leveraging our large scale to contribute to caring for the environment and doing good for society. The partnership with UBQ is another step in our commitment to sustainability, as it allows us to replace materials within our operations with similar ones whose ultimate carbon emissions are zero.”
McDonald’s “Scale for Good” initiative aims to reduce the chain’s greenhouse gas emissions by 36% by 2030, plus 20% throughout the supply chain within the same time period. This would add up to 11 million tons of CO2 that will not reach the atmosphere.
UBQ breaks down unsorted household waste into its most basic natural components (lignin, cellulose, sugar, fiber) and creates a new composite through a process that does not use water or emit harmful fumes. The thermoplastic material can be made into things like bricks, shopping carts, pipes, trash cans and automotive parts.
In September, UBQ announced its first partnership in the United States, a pilot program with the Central Virginia Waste Management Authority to manufacture recycling bins from the environmentally friendly material.