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Brightmark Energy Narrows Site Search for Next Advanced Plastic Recycling Plant

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The San Francisco–based company plans to make its final site selection decisions by Q3 of this year, and plans to have at least two sites “shovel-ready” by 2021.

Brightmark Energy, a waste solutions provider headquartered in San Francisco, announced that it is prioritizing its search for locations for its next advanced plastic recycling plants to key regions in Florida, Georgia, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, and Texas. The company plans to make its final site selection decisions by Q3 of this year and plans to have at least two sites “shovel-ready” by 2021.

This recent announcement represents Brightmark’s move into the second phase of its nationwide search for U.S. locations suitable for its next set of plastics renewal facilities. The company’s plastics renewal technology takes single-stream, post-use plastics and converts them into ultra-low sulfur diesel, naphtha, and wax, “at a scale never achieved before,” said the company’s announcement. The process is also capable of creating the building blocks for new plastics, thus enabling a circular economy in the plastics industry.

“The United States is facing a major plastics recycling shortfall. We’ve got a proven, unique, market-ready solution, which we are scaling up nationally to meet this demand,” explained CEO Bob Powell. “Communities are struggling with a deluge of contaminated plastics, and we have been overwhelmed with the level of interest in our solution from communities across the states.

“With recent events affecting all of our communities, we are excited to be investing in jobs and economic activity in our partner communities. I have spoken with multiple community leaders who have been enthusiastic to partner with Brightmark as we expand our plastics renewal locations,” Powell added.

Brightmark said it expects to make investments of approximately $500 million to $1 billion at each site location, directly creating hundreds of new jobs in each host community selected through this process. Each plant will process hundreds of thousands of tons of plastics each year, according to the company.

Brightmark is currently completing construction of a $260 million plastics renewal facility in northeast Indiana (Ashley, IN), which will accept 100,000 tons of plastics each year for conversion into new products, significantly more than any other facility of its kind. The plant is expected to begin producing fuels and wax later this year and will be operating at full capacity in early 2021. The feedstock for the Ashley plastics renewal facility will be sourced from Indiana, Ohio, and the Chicago metro area.

Brightmark Chief Development Officer Zeina El-Azzi, commented, “We’ve built an excellent partnership with the folks in Steuben County, Indiana, at our first plastics renewal facility, and we’re now deeply engaged with other communities in our target states to determine where we can put down roots and work hand-in-hand to expand local recycling infrastructure and create a significant number of new jobs.”

During the first phase of Brightmark’s site search process, more than 100 communities nationwide participated in an open “indication of interest” process. Commercial real estate company CBRE Group Inc. partnered with Brightmark to research these locations, as well as other localities nationwide, said Brightmark.

The next phase of Brightmark’s selection process will include a deeper dive into potential key regions and specific site locations. Ideal locations, said Brightmark, are those able to offer strong local, regional, and state support for project development through incentives and improved plastic recycling programs; access to at least 200,000 tons per year of co-mingled plastic waste (types one to seven); access to 30 to 100 acres of suitable land with excellent access to rail and highways; and natural gas and electric utility support. 

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