Clean Tech company UBQ Materials and ProDelta Real Estate come together in a sustainable relationship
For the 2022 edition of the magazine 'Havenlocaties Nederland 2022', publisher Jager Media interviewed our managing director and deputy director of Real Estate, Frank van Dijk and Sander van Zwienen. Please read the interview below:
Over the last ten years, Clean Tech company UBQ Materials has developed a ground-breaking method for converting unsorted household waste, including organic material, into the most climate-positive thermoplastic material on the market. UBQ’s first production site outside its homeland of Israel is in Bergen op Zoom, in a building owned by ProDelta Real Estate. ‘This is a logical match.’
‘No, we are not a waste processing company’, explains project manager Olaf Looijen of UBQ Materials. ‘Waste companies deliver to us the raw material of mixed municipal waste that would otherwise end up as landfill or incinerated. Through our own waste conversion process, this waste is converted into a new, globally patented thermoplastic material that can replace petroleum-based resins in standard plastic-processing machines and production processes. The material is highly compatible and suitable for producing a virtually unlimited variety of end products.’
‘With our production method, we divert household waste that would otherwise end up in the incinerator or as landfill, and also prevent the associated CO2 and methane emissions. The climate-positive footprint of the material is considerable, and by making relatively minor switches from conventional resins the CO2 footprint of the end product can be effectively reduced or even neutralized.’ Looijen shows a tray from a fast-food chain as an example of an end product that has been made from the UBQ granulate. ‘An environmentally positive tray that can be recycled many times without any loss of quality.’ The potential is huge, he explains. ‘Every year more than two billion tonnes of waste are produced worldwide, which is equivalent to five times the weight of the entire human population, and it keeps rising. The plant in Bergen op Zoom is a crucial step in UBQ’s plans for fast upscaling and worldwide expansion.’
Around two years ago UBQ started searching for a suitable site for its first large-scale plant. ‘We were looking for somewhere in a country with a good existing infrastructure, and that is the Netherlands. Bergen op Zoom has a good logistics infrastructure with two container terminals and the A58 and A4 motorways. The building also suits us perfectly and we have a partner in ProDelta who is willing to take this step with us.’ Frank van Dijk, Director of Real Estate at ProDelta: ‘We came in contact with each other in Israel. Both companies’ vision of sustainability makes this a logical match. We put the letting of the building, Forever21’s former distribution centre, on hold to enable UBQ to move in.’ Looijen: ‘The building could simply have gone to a logistics service provider, but ProDelta deliberately chose not to go down that route.’ He also praises the positive attitude of the municipality and province in obtaining the necessary licences, also for the construction of an extra industrial unit alongside the ProDelta building. ‘ProDelta lets that plot to us, and we are building a reception building ourselves.’ Van Dijk: ‘We have a contract with each other for a term of fifteen years, with options to renew it. We are genuinely looking to build a long-term relationship.’
Sustainable logistics property
ProDelta Real Estate is a developer of and investor in sustainable logistics property. Cooperation, sustainability and quality are central to the company’s vision. The main focus of the property portfolio is in the Rotterdam region and the provinces of Noord-Brabant and Gelderland. ‘The natural hinterland of the port of Rotterdam. But we are also active outside the area, such as here in Bergen op Zoom’, says Van Dijk. His colleague, Sander van Zwienen, Deputy Director of Real Estate: ‘ProDelta is a family business with an eye for the long term. This collaboration with UBQ Materials is a perfect match for our vision of corporate social responsibility. We do this partly by contributing to all kinds of good causes, and partly through investments that have a socially responsible component.’
ProDelta makes sustainable investments under the flag of ProDelta Impact. Besides an economic return, the company wants to achieve a comparable social and/or ecological return. Van Zwienen: ‘For instance, we participate in the Zeeland-based company Kingfish, which breeds healthy, antibiotic-free fish onshore with the seawater of the Oosterschelde. We participate in the Borski Fund that improves access to capital for businesses founded or co-founded by women, or which market a technological product or service for women. We also have a participating interest in UBQ Materials and other innovative, sustainable enterprises.’ Sustainability is also a critical factor when building logistics property, he explains. ‘New logistic developments must achieve at least BREEAM Excellent certification. We prefer to select brownfield sites for development rather than greenfield land. We use circular construction processes wherever possible and install solar panels on the roofs where feasible.’
UBQ Materials expects to be operational in the first quarter of next year. Around 150 people will be employed at the plant. UBQ Materials will process 100,000 tonnes of input material each year, which will generate an output of 78,000 tonnes of UBQTM Material that will be delivered to customers in big bags. UBQ’s conversion process is energy-efficient and clean, without producing hazardous sludge, wastewater or emissions.
Looijen: ‘UBQ’s vision is a world without waste. Our growth ambition is huge and time-critical. That is why we are looking for more suitable sites in the Netherlands and elsewhere.’
About UBQ Materials
UBQ Materials Ltd. has developed a sophisticated conversion technology with a patent on the world’s first biobased thermoplast (UBQ™) that is produced entirely from unsorted household waste, including all organic material; a revolutionary way of converting municipal waste, that would otherwise end up as landfill or incinerated, into a sustainable alternative to oil-based plastics. UBQ, a certified B Corp, is a globally recognized Clean Tech company with customers such as Mercedes-Benz, the worldwide supplier of retail solutions Mainetti, and Arcos Dorados, the world’s largest franchisee of McDonald's restaurants in Latin America.
With a climate-positive impact and a competitive price, UBQ™ enables manufacturers to switch easily to greater sustainability. For more information, go to www.ubqmaterials.com.