Press Release

Surprise, Arizona Chosen as First U.S. Site for Automedi’s Innovative Solution to Tackle Plastic Waste

New York, NY, November 28, 2023 — QBE North America is pleased to announce that the city of Surprise, Arizona, has been selected as the pilot site for an initiative aimed at helping cities and other sites reduce plastic waste. The initiative, developed by UK-based company Automedi, was the winner of the 2022 QBE AcceliCITY Resilience Challenge, hosted by Leading Cities in partnership with QBE North America. Automedi won City Solution of the Year garnering a cash prize of $100,000 to fund the pilot project.

Each year, the QBE AcceliCITY Resilience Challenge attracts hundreds of entrepreneurs and start-ups from around the world who compete to win the City Solution of the Year award, as well as other awards. In 2022, Automedi beat out more than 550 competitors to take the top prize with its circular, self-contained solution to turn plastic waste into functional products using 3D printing vending machines.

"The City of Surprise is honored to be chosen as the pilot site for Automedi's innovative plastic waste reduction solution, as our region is in need of forward-thinking recycling solutions," said Kristin Tytler, City of Surprise Public Works Director. "Like many cities and municipalities across the country, Surprise paused curbside recycling due to soaring costs and a decreased market for recyclables that left a high percentage in the landfill. After searching for more sustainable recycling solutions, the City is in the process of resuming curbside collection. Automedi’s pilot solution will be a great supplement to that and a unique way to showcase how plastic waste can be made into useful products.”

Automedi, a pioneer in the field of decentralized circular microeconomies, is poised to revolutionize the way plastic waste is managed and repurposed. Its innovative approach involves converting plastic waste into community products at the actual point of use, fundamentally reshaping the standard of care, health science innovation and sustainability.

“Because of the long-standing commitment QBE has demonstrated to improving urban resilience, this pilot project will serve as a first-of-its-kind deployment in the United States, ushering a new era of plastic recycling possibilities,” said Michael Lake, President and CEO of Leading Cities. “Shockingly and tragically, only about 9% of the world’s plastic is being recycled. Instead much of it ends up in landfills or in our oceans, where it is projected to surpass the amount of fish and takes more than 1,000 years to break down.”

Unlike conventional manufacturing and supply chains, Automedi utilizes localized 3D print vending technology to transform plastic waste into functional products, dramatically reducing CO2 emissions by up to 98%. Through its user-friendly e-commerce platform, local businesses can place made-to-order product orders, contributing to a more sustainable future while supporting the local economy.

“This collaboration with the City of Surprise presents an exciting opportunity for us to showcase our solution,” said Ethar Alali, Managing Director of Automedi. “We’re eager to partner with Surprise in this transformative journey, empowering change at the grassroots level and promoting a greener, more circular future.”

The pilot project will rotate three 3D printers in various community gathering places, such as libraries, schools and sports venues. The community will be able to print plastic products at no cost to them using plastic recyclables collected in the City.

The City understands there is an urgent need to address plastic waste issues and this pilot program has the potential to reshape waste management practices both locally and globally. Surprise is committed to pioneering sustainable solutions like this one and intends to work with its smart city consortium partner, The Connective, to share results and best practices with neighboring municipalities, and to identify opportunities to scale this initiative throughout the region.

“We’re proud to be an integral part in this groundbreaking project with the City of Surprise and Automedi,” said Dean Duncan, Managing Director, The Connective. “The Connective’s commitment to driving innovation in smart regions aligns perfectly with the mission of this initiative. Together, we’re not only transforming plastic waste management locally but also paving the way for a more sustainable future across the entire Phoenix Metropolitan Area and beyond.”

About Automedi
Automedi is more than a manufacturing platform – it is a leading circular plastics economy. The company provides the technology and services to make functional products out of plastic waste via localized 3D printing, cutting out 98% of the CO2 of conventional manufacturing and supply chains by radically reducing the energy needed to manufacture and transport goods. Product orders from local businesses are fulfilled made-to-order through their e-commerce platform.

About QBE AcceliCITY Resilience Challenge
The QBE AcceliCITY Resilience Challenge has quickly become one of the largest programs of its kind in the world and has demonstrated tremendous impact. AcceliCITY alumni have already raised upwards of $400 million, with many having since deployed their solutions in cities to improve the equity, resilience and safety of our urban centers.

At its core, QBE AcceliCITY lowers the cost of innovation for local governments, as well as startups and corporations, by streamlining the innovation and implementation cycles for smart and resilient city solutions. The QBE AcceliCITY program connects startups’ smart solutions directly with users and provides the proper channels and know-how to deploy in cities.

About Leading Cities
Leading Cities connects cities across the globe with innovations and insight to drive resiliency, equity and sustainability. This is achieved by cultivating a global network of forward thinkers from the public, private, academic and non-profit sectors as well as delivering advanced research, emerging trends and vetting solutions that will address urban challenges. The AcceliCITY program aims to de-risk innovation for cities by sourcing and vetting solutions that will answer their most pressing challenges. Additional information can be found at or by following Leading Cities on X, LinkedIn and Facebook.

About QBE
QBE North America is a global insurance leader helping customers solve unique risks, so they can stay focused on their future. Part of QBE Insurance Group Limited, QBE North America reported Gross Written Premiums in the first half of 2023 of $5 billion. QBE Insurance Group’s results can be found at Headquartered in Sydney, Australia, QBE operates out of 27 countries around the globe, with a presence in every key insurance market. The North America division, headquartered in New York, conducts business primarily through its insurance company subsidiaries. The actual terms and conditions of any insurance coverage are subject to the language of the policies as issued. Additional information can be found at or follow QBE North America on LinkedIn and Facebook.

About Surprise, Arizona
The City of Surprise, Arizona is part of the Phoenix-Metro area and is home to more than 160,000 residents. The gorgeous Sonoran-desert landscape sets the stage for the city’s vibrant sports and recreation scene, special events, flourishing arts community and fantastic local restaurants! The city’s year-round sunny climate makes it the ideal place for outdoor adventure. Surprise boasts an award-winning tennis and racquet complex, eight gorgeous golf courses and a Major League Spring Training stadium that USA Today ranked the #1 Spring Training Stadium in Arizona! Bordering Surprise, the White Tank Mountain Regional Park offers hiking, biking, camping and a nature center. Visit the city and find your game, find your adventure, find your festival – find your Surprise! Learn more about the City of Surprise at and visit the city’s tourism website at

Media contact:
MaryBeth Iannaccone
Lead Communications Partner
QBE North America