Israeli firm says it can turn garbage into plastic gold

Israeli firm says it can turn garbage into plastic gold
In this Tuesday, March 13, 2018 photo, a worker holds bio-based thermoplastic composite made from substantially unsorted municipal solid waste material in the UBQ factory in Kibbutz Zeelim. Israeli start-up UBQ says its innovative method to convert garbage into plastics, five years in the making, will revolutionize waste management worldwide and make landfills obsolete. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

KIBBUTZ ZEELIM, ISRAEL (AP) — Hawks, vultures and storks circle overhead as Christopher Sveen points at the heap of refuse rotting in the desert heat, calling it “the mine of the future.”

Sveen is chief operations officer at UBQ, an Israeli company that has patented a process to convert household trash from landfills into reusable plastic. After five years of development, the company is bringing its operations online, with hopes of revolutionizing waste management worldwide and making landfills obsolete.

It remains to be seen, however, if the technology really works and is commercially viable.

UBQ operates a pilot plant and research facility at Kibbutz Zeelim, on the edge of Israel’s Negev Desert, where it has developed its production line. It has raised million from private investors, and leading scientists serve on its advisory board.