Metric tons of municipal solid waste are produced globally every year
of waste is recycled each year. Only 14% of plastics are recycled
Metric tons of carbon dioxide or equivalents are generated as a result
Sustainability and environmental impact are at the heart of UBQ’s technological development since its inception. At UBQ we seek to reuse finite resources infinitely and economically rather than rely on a linear economy that depletes fossil-based alternatives.
Our R&D objective is to constantly innovate and produce versatile bio-based materials that nurture the circular economy.
Its approach stems from a holistic and systemic perspective to develop a ‘target technology’, committed to introducing the most ‘circular materials’ in the marketplace.
Working with Quantis International and ESG Matters, we have developed an LCA Impact Calculator which shows that UBQ reduces ±15.5 t\CO2e for each ton of UBQ Material produced.1 This amount is significant in comparison with all conventional polymers which production have negative environmental impact. For example, 1 ton of Polypropylene (PP) produces 2 tons\CO2e emissions and is made from finite fossil derived feedstocks (oil). Even bio-based materials, like corn derived Polylactic Acid (PLA), produces 3.5 tons\CO2e emissions per ton of material.
By eliminating waste going to landfills and decomposing into harmful gases, UBQ can reduce Greenhouse gases being released to the environment and be significantly more environmentally friendly than the comparative materials in the market place today.
To put these numbers into perspective, producing one ton of UBQ Material reduces the same amount of GHGs equivalent to that of 15.5 trees over a period of 40 years!
1 Ton of UBQ Material
reduces on average
This makes the
UBQ Material ±700%
The world generates over 2 billion tons of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) annually and 80% of it ends up in open, sub-standard landfills close to our rivers, lakes, and oceans leaking harmful materials and gases into our natural environment.
Waste Aid International states that 40% of the world’s waste is not even collected or treated. Open dumping and burning of waste cause many serious health problems to humans and other living organisms by encouraging vermin, poisoning of air, land and aquifers, and leak of waste materials into the sea.
It is estimated that between 10 to 14 million tons of plastics end up in the ocean every year2 – equivalent to the weight of 280 trillion empty plastic bottles of 1Lt. Even though we focus on the plastics problem, the reality is that a lot more waste is dumped into our water ways than one could even imagine as most of the waste doesn’t float but sinks underwater. Just see this shocking video of garbage trucks in Peru dumping waste directly into the Amazon River.
Waste Atlas profiled the “50 Biggest Dumpsites” around the world. To get an idea of how bad the situation really is please see the video by ISWA, “Let’s Close the 50 Biggest Dumpsites in the World” and sign the Declaration of Support.
Research from The Institute for Local Self Reliance, Eco-Cycle, and GAIA show that significantly decreasing waste disposed in landfills and incinerators will reduce greenhouse gases the equivalent to closing one-fifth of U.S. coal-fired power plants. This is equivalent to leading climate protection proposals such as improving vehicle fuel efficiency. Indeed, implementing waste reduction and materials recovery strategies nationally are essential to put us on the path to stabilizing the climate by 2050.3
Short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) are powerful climate forcers that remain in the atmosphere for a shorter period of time than carbon dioxide (CO2), yet their potential to warm the atmosphere can be tens, hundreds, or even thousands of times greater.4
MSW in landfills or open dumps, releases extremely harmful Greenhouse Gases (GHGs) over its decomposing life-cycle. In addition to Carbon Dioxide (CO2), these GHGs include the SLCPs like Methane (CH4), Black Carbon, Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) and Nitrogen Oxide (NOx or N2O).
These SLCPs are some of the most significant contributers to global warming, responsible for 30-40% of global warming (experienced to date). If no action is taken to reduce emissions of these pollutants, in the coming decades they are expected to account for +50% of global warming caused by human activity.5
Unsurprisingly, landfills are the largest source of anthropogenic methane emissions in the U.S., and the impact of landfill emissions in the short term is grossly underestimated.6
Reducing SLCPs is a critical climate mitigation strategy for mitigating near-term global warming and its impact at least through the end of the century.7
The short atmospheric lifetimes of SLCPs means that reducing them will prevent as much as 90% of their predicted warming within a decade.
If reductions in SLCPs are delayed to 2030, it will be more difficult if not impossible to keep global warming below 2°C.8
It’s not enough to act.
We have to act now.
According to the ILSR, current assessments of greenhouse gas emissions from waste underestimate the potential for the “waste sector” to mitigate climate change.9 This is a result of inventory methodologies used to account for greenhouse gases from waste. This assessment, however, does not include the most significant climate change impact of waste disposal: we must continually extract new resources to replace those buried or burned.
For every ton of discarded products and materials destroyed by incinerators and landfills, about 71 tons of manufacturing, mining, oil and gas exploration, agricultural, coal combustion, and other discards are produced. In other words, more trees must be cut down to make paper, more iron ore must be mined for metal production, and more petroleum must be processed into plastics and other products.10
By reusing materials instead of disposing of materials, we can keep our forests and other ecosystems intact, avoid large amounts of carbon, and significantly reduce our carbon footprint.
For the full report and other publications, please revisit ILSR website.
The Ellen MacArthur Foundation defines the circular economy system "as restorative and regenerative by design, looking beyond the "take, make and dispose” extractive industrial linear model that we live today. Relying on system-wide innovation, it aims to redefine products and services to design waste out, while minimizing negative impacts. Underpinned by a transition to renewable energy sources, the circular model builds economic, natural and social capital.”
The book “Waste to Wealth,” recently published by Accenture, examines how the transition to a circular economy may be the biggest revolution and opportunity for how we organize production and consumption in our global economy in 250 years. It represents a huge market for companies to create a circular advantage indicating a $4.5 trillion economic opportunity for achieving sustainable businesses by 2030.
As stated by WasteAid International, waste management has a powerful and positive impact on people’s well-being. Helping communities and governments manage their waste properly is vital if we are to achieve 11 of the 17 SDGs. In cooperation with ISWA and UNEP, they have developed a great topline overview addressing the SDGs in the context of solid waste management, which can be seen here.
With this as a foundation, UBQ is actively supporting the SDGs and supporting circular economy.
Diverting waste from landfills is the only way we stand a chance to minimize pollution entering our natural environments.
UBQ supports any technological advancements and alternative solutions to curb this endemic problem. With solutions coming together we can make a collective difference.
(1) 1 ton of UBQ:Material, reduces GHGs by between 3 tons/CO2e to 30 tons/CO2e. This impact range depends on (1) where the waste is generated and disposed of; (2) waste composition; (3) the Global Warming Potential of the GHGs released; and (4) the timeframe assessed (10 years, 20 years or 100 years). Please ask for a copy of the UBQ Environmental Impact Assessment Report.
(3) Institute for Local Self Reliance, Stop Trashing the Climate (2008)
(6) Institute for Local Self Reliance, Stop Trashing the Climate (2008)
(7) Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development – IGSD - Primer on Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (http://www.igsd.org/documents/PrimeronShort-LivedClimatePollutantsNovemberElectronicversion.pdf
(8) Hu A., et al. (2013) Mitigation of short-lived climate pollutants slows sea-level rise, Nature Climate Change 3:730-734, 733 )
(9) ( National Research Council of the National Academies (2011), Climate Stabilization Targets: Emissions, Concentrations, and Impacts over Decades to Millenia, 3 )
(10) (Office of Technology Assessment, Managing Industrial Solid Wastes from manufacturing, mining, oil, and gas production, and utility coal combustion (OTA-BP-O-82), February 1992, pp. 7, 10)