Sabra Hummus founder could bring ‘game changer’ company to Virginia

RICHMOND, Va. -- A new partnership, a first of its kind in the United States and Virginia, was celebrated at the State Capitol on Wednesday with the hopes it will lead to new jobs in the Commonwealth.

Alongside state elected officials, like Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment (R - 3rd District), the Central Virginia Waste Management Authority (CVWMA) displayed some of the 2,000 recycling bins it ordered from the Israel-based company UBQ Materials Ltd.

What differentiates these bins from the one you may be using now, is that the these bins are not made out of plastic, but what the company calls a “thermoplastic” made from materials that usually end up in the garbage dump.

“Chicken bones, tomatoes, diapers, and such,” said Yehuda Pearl, UBQ Materials Ltd. Founder and Honorary Chairman.

The company says it can take 1.5-tons of garbage from a dump and convert it into one-ton of its composite material, called UBQ.

“And by taking 1.5-tons of waste, we’re saving the environment 12-tons of CO2-equivalent emissions from landfill decomposition,” said UBQ Materials Ltd. CEO Jack (Tato) Bigio, explaining why their process is climate positive. He added that their product can be used to make things that would normally be made with plastic. “Bins, boxes, pallets, pipes, panels, sidings.”

UBQ bins made of recyclable plastic.

UBQ bins made of recyclable plastic.

The company said the finished product itself can be recycled again.

“It’s a game changer and we’re really looking forward to it,” said Kim Hynes, Executive Director of CVWMA. She said customers can expect the bins to start replacing older ones by as early as next week.

But beyond celebrating the new technology and purchase of the 2,000 recycling bins, Wednesday’s event was also about looking to the future.

"We have tremendous interest and we need to expand rapidly,” said Bigio.

The company currently has one plant running in Israel and produces 5,000 tons of its UBQ material annually, but they are looking to expand and open a production plant and headquarters in the United States.

Virginia is one of the places it is considering to do that as UBQ already has a connection to the Commonwealth.

UBQ’s founder, Yehuda Pearl, is also the founder of Sabra Hummus, which has its production plant in Chesterfield County.

“It became an obvious potential place to actually set up an American headquarters and the first factory in the United States,” said Pearl.

Bigio said the plant and headquarters would create 250 direct jobs. He added they hope to make a decision on where to build and begin the construction process by 2020.

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