McDonald’s Brazil turns Israeli trash to food trays

Developed by Negev-based UBQ Materials, move by fast-food provider's largest franchisee in the world looks to replace plastics in favor of more environmentally friendly substances

Diners at McDonald’s restaurants in Brazil have begun to use innovative, environmentally friendly trays, manufactured by an Israeli startup with a unique technology that turns waste into a green plastic substitute.
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  • The move is part of the strategy of Arcos Dorados, McDonald’s largest franchisee in the world that operates restaurants in Latin America, to replace plastic products in favor of materials that prevent environmental pollution.
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    נגיף קורונה הונג קונג מקדונלדס חסרי בית
    נגיף קורונה הונג קונג מקדונלדס חסרי בית
    A McDonald's branch in Hong Kong
    (Photo: AFP)
    The substitute raw material for plastic is a unique patent of the UBQ Materials cleantech startup based in Kibbutz Tze’elim in the Negev. The plant has developed technology that processes waste of all types, including organic waste, papers, plastic scraps and more, decomposes them into molecular components and creates from them an innovative raw material used for the production of car spare parts, surfaces, cans, and a variety of other products.
    The 18,000 new trays will carry the UBQ logo alongside the familiar McDonald’s logo and will replace the old plastic trays.
    The project will begin with restaurants in the Brazilian cities of Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, Brasilia, and Manaus in the Amazon.
    The companies note that the tray renewal project is just the tip of the iceberg in their potential collaboration, and they plan to develop more eco-friendly products for McDonald’s using UBQ’s raw material.
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    UBQ CEO _alt co-founder UBQ co-founder and chief executive Jack (Tato) Bigio
    UBQ CEO _alt co-founder UBQ co-founder and chief executive Jack (Tato) Bigio
    UBQ CEO & co-founder Jack 'Tato' Bigio
    (Photo: PR)
    Entrepreneur Jack “Tato” Bigio, who founded and manages UBQ Israel, said that every ton of trash processed at the plant means a solution to waste that would otherwise decompose after decades of releasing carbon emissions into the atmosphere.
    The production of one ton of UBQ saves 12 tons of future emissions of polluting gases. The more McDonald’s and UBQ develop products, the more the network can reduce and even neutralize its carbon footprint.
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