Arcos Dorados (or Golden Arches), the largest independent McDonald’s franchisee in the world and the company that operates the brand in Latin America and the Caribbean, has announced a partnership with Israeli waste conversion startup UBQ Materials as the first step to expand its environmental impact initiatives.
The franchisee plans to replace some of the materials in McDonald’s restaurants with similar, more sustainable ones made from unsorted household waste, using UBQ technology.
UBQ Materials developed a patented process to convert unsorted household waste into a fully recyclable thermoplastic substitute.
The companies said they aim to use this new environmentally-friendly material in restaurants by the first quarter of 2020.
“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, ” said Gabriel Serber, director of social commitment and sustainable development for Arcos Dorados, “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.”
The initiative is in addition to a series of sustainability actions already implemented by Arcos Dorados and McDonald’s. A year ago, Arcos Dorados suspended the proactive serving of plastic straws and launched an awareness campaign for customers to avoid straw use during meals. The company also promised to continue reducing the use of plastic in its restaurants.
Arcos Dorados says it remains committed to meeting the brand’s global goals under the “Scale for Good” initiative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 36 percent by 2030, plus 20 percent throughout the supply chain within the same time period.
UBQ Materials was founded in 2012 by Rabbi Yehuda Pearl, a founder of the globally recognized hummus brand Sabra and Jack “Tato” Bigio, an entrepreneur and leader in the renewable energy sector. The team emerged from stealth mode in late 2018.
The company, whose name is derived from the word “ubiquitous,” has already been transforming waste into a new natural resource in Israel and now in the United States, Bigio told NoCamels in September.
The tech was recently adapted in a pilot program by the Central Virginia Waste Management Authority (CVWMA) which ordered the first 2,000 recycling bins made with UBQ Materials’ converted waste material.
Albert Douer, executive chairman of UBQ said: “The partnership with Arcos Dorados has the potential to change mindsets around waste on our planet. 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 negative carbon emission balance, helping reduce global warming.”