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San Francisco–based Brightmark wants to procure 1.2 million tons per year of post-use plastic types 1 through 7 from the eastern half of the United States to recycle into fuel and new materials at its plastics renewal plants.

Clare Goldsberry

August 3, 2020

2 Min Read
recycling bales
Image: rbkelle/Adobe Stock

Got plastic waste? Bring it on, says Brightmark, which is looking to procure 1,200,000 tons per year of post-use plastic types 1 through 7 from the eastern half of the United States. It will recycle the plastic waste at its existing and soon-to-be-built plastics renewal plants nationwide.

A waste solutions provider based in San Francisco, Brightmark announced that it is launching the largest ever solicitation of plastic waste to deploy its proven circular solution for converting all types of used plastic into sustainable fuel and other high-value products. Brightmark said that this initiative showcases the company’s ability to provide a solution for a recycling industry that faces the end of plastic exports and the disruption of curbside collection programs nationwide following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bob Powell, founder and CEO of Brightmark, told PlasticsToday that the company is currently receiving hard-to-recycle types 3 to 7 plastics. “From a value perspective, PET bottles are better being mechanically recycled but we can take it all, as our technology works better with a mixed array,” said Powell. “We want a lot of it —bring it on.”

The company’s first advanced plastics recycling plant, serving the broader Midwest market from its location in northeast Indiana, is now in testing and will be at production scale by early next year. The company is in the final phases of determining locations for its next recycling facilities in Florida, Georgia, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, or Texas.

These facilities will act as regional “hubs” for materials recovery facilities that have the capability to transport material and get it “back home in a day,” explained Powell. The company’s strategy is to move into communities with spokes reaching further from the hub to encompass a “pretty wide circle.” Brightmark plans to make its final site-selection decisions by the fourth quarter of this year and have at least two sites shovel ready by 2021.

Brightmark’s proprietary plastics renewal technology takes single-stream, post-use plastics and converts them into ultra-low sulfur diesel, naphtha, and wax at a reportedly unprecedented scale. The process also is capable of creating the building blocks for new plastics, thus enabling a circular economy in the plastics industry. To date, the company has successfully disrupted particularly challenging waste streams, including boat shrink wrap, e-waste, and children’s car seats.

“This is a challenging moment for recycling in the United States,” said Brightmark’s Chief Development Officer Zeina El-Azzi, “but those challenges are now being met with innovation by companies like Brightmark. We’re rising to this challenge and calling on materials recovery facilities and waste collection companies to reach out to us today about how we can help to alleviate the overwhelming supply of plastic waste they’re facing.”

About the Author(s)

Clare Goldsberry

Until she retired in September 2021, Clare Goldsberry reported on the plastics industry for more than 30 years. In addition to the 10,000+ articles she has written, by her own estimation, she is the author of several books, including The Business of Injection Molding: How to succeed as a custom molder and Purchasing Injection Molds: A buyers guide. Goldsberry is a member of the Plastics Pioneers Association. She reflected on her long career in "Time to Say Good-Bye."

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