Brightmark feedstock Ashely Indiana
Plastic scrap feedstock at Brightmark's Ashley, Indiana, plant
Photo courtesy of Brightmark

Brightmark announces plans for second plastics renewal facility

The company says it is building the world’s largest advanced plastics recycling facility in Macon, Georgia.

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June 14, 2021

Brightmark, the global waste solutions provider based in San Francisco, says it will invest $680 million to build the world’s largest advanced plastics recycling and renewal facility in Georgia’s Macon-Bibb County. In late 2020, the company said it planned to open two sites in the U.S. in addition to its first site in Ashely, Indiana. Besides Georgia, the states it was considering were Florida, Louisiana, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Texas.

With these new sites, Brightmark is seeking local, regional and state support for project development through incentives and improved plastic recycling programs; access to at least 200,000 tons of commingled plastic scrap annually; access to 30 to 100 acres of suitable land with access to rail and highways; and natural gas and electric utility support.

The 5.3 million-square-foot site will use the company’s proprietary plastics renewal process, a form of chemical recycling, to recycle Nos. 1-7 plastics that have reached the end of their useful lives, including flexible packing and plastic film, expanded polystyrene, plastic beverage cups, car seats and children’s toys. Brightmark converts this material into products that include fuels and wax and the building blocks for new plastics using technology developed by RES Polyflow, formerly of Chagrin, Ohio. Brightmark acquired in RES Polyflow, and its chemical recycling technology for mixed plastics in late 2018.

“Georgia’s pro-business environment and support for private-sector innovation continue to pave the way toward a more sustainable future, not only in Georgia but across the world,” says Gov. Brian Kemp. “It’s exciting to consider the potential for this project, and I’m thankful to Brightmark for investing in Georgia and the hardworking Georgians of Macon.”

“Our community places a high value on its ability to recycle, so being able to attract Brightmark’s second recycling facility should make us all proud,” says Macon-Bibb County Mayor Lester Miller. “Brightmark will bring new, technical jobs that will both benefit people living here and attract more people to move to our wonderful city.”

Once complete, Brightmark says its second commercial-scale plastics renewal facility will divert 400,000 tons of plastic waste each year from landfills and incinerators and convert it into 64 million gallons of ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel and naphtha blend stocks and 20 million gallons of wax. Brightmark says its process is 93 percent efficient, where 93 percent of incoming material is converted into new products.

Brightmark’s first plastics renewal facility is in Ashley is expected to divert 100,000 tons of plastic from landfills, waterways and incinerators annually once fully operational later this year, converting it into 18 million gallons of ultra-low sulfur renewable diesel fuel and naphtha blend stocks and 6 million gallons of wax. The company invested $260 million in the Ashley facility.

Brightmark says it is working with suppliers of postconsumer and postindustrial end-of-life plastics throughout the region to secure feedstock supply agreements and has an open contracting window, which is expected to close in the fourth quarter this year.

Bob Powell, founder and CEO of Brightmark, says, “Our advanced recycling facility will be the world’s largest and will utilize our proven plastics renewal technology to advance our mission of reimagining waste while supporting economic development in the region. We look forward to being a part of the community and establishing central Georgia as a leader in the circular economy.”

“As the world continues to move toward sustainability in energy and plastics, we are thrilled that Brightmark has selected Georgia for a project that will transform how we manage plastic waste into the future,” says Georgia Department of Economic Development Commissioner Pat Wilson. “I would like to thank Gov. Kemp as well as our partners with the Macon-Bibb County Industrial Development Authority and Georgia EMC for supporting this innovative company while bringing the jobs of the future to Georgia.”

Brightmark says it will be hiring to fill more than 100 positions in engineering, maintenance and operations. Individuals interested in careers with Brightmark are encouraged to visit https://brightmark.com/about/careers or email info@brightmark.com for additional information.