Brightmark CEO provides update on new plastic and fuel plant in Macon GA

For Bob Powell of Georgia, his global waste management solutions company investing more than $ 680 million to build a new plant in Bibb County is “a bit of a homecoming.”

Powell, who grew up in Atlanta, is the Founder and CEO of Brightmark, which plans to build an advanced plastics recycling and renewal facility at a 5.3 million square foot site off Walden Road near the Middle Georgia Regional Airport.

“One of my dreams has been to be able to do what we do in Brightmark, which is to create a waste-free world, in my home state of Georgia,” Powell told an industry authority in Brightmark County and Macon-Bibb. virtual press conference.

When completed, the plant would be able to take 400,000 tonnes of plastic waste per year and convert it into usable products, including 64 million gallons of fuel and 20 million gallons of wax.

“And actually, most importantly, remodeling plastics from plastics,” Powell said.

The new factory should generate more than 100 jobs in engineering, maintenance and operations.

Of seven types of plastics labeled as recyclable, only two types are easy to recycle and the other five end up in landfills. But Brightmark is changing that, Powell said.

“People may not know it, but only about 9% of plastics are recycled each year, and we are trying to tackle the 91% that are not,” he said.

Plastics to feed

This means Brightmark accepts all plastics.

“We like to say from Barbies to Bobbleheads to everything else – definitely kids’ toys,” Powell said. “Everything we use: Solo plastic cups, car seats. All the things we use every day that we don’t even realize are wrapped in plastic.

Brightmark is able to do this through its patented recycling process, which involves grinding plastics, turning them into pellets, heating them and turning them into liquids that then become usable products.

Converted and usable products include ultra low sulfur diesel fuel.

“Ultra low sulfur diesel fuel has the lowest environmental impact of greenhouse gas emissions that we believe to be commercially available,” said Powell. “With our product, it’s really that cleaner diesel.”

Another converted product, Naphtah, is used as one of the building blocks to remake plastics, he said.

“When we remake plastics from plastics, we create what we call a truly circular solution,” said Powell. “Naphtha is also often used as part of the gasoline that people use in their cars.”

GettyImages-52215604 plastics 3.jpg
A woman putting a plastic bottle in a recycling bin in Worcestershire, UK. Brightmark, a global supplier of waste, plans to build a $ 680 million facility in Macon, Georgia that recycles all plastics into reusable products like fuel and wax. Andrew Fox Getty Images

Waxing plastics

The other processed product is paraffin wax which can be used to make candles, he said.

“So you can imagine having a Brightmark Macon-Bibb candle in your home, and the waxes are also used for a lot of other things on the cardboard boxes you see and we (produce) food grade waxes as well. “, did he declare.

Food grade paraffin wax is also known as baker’s wax or canning wax and can be found in most grocery stores.

The recycling process is 93% efficient with the unusable output – a non-toxic chalky powder – that can be easily disposed of in a landfill, Powell said.

“We’re really excited to now help solve Macon-Bibb, but really all of the southeast with Macon-Bibb as the center, this plastic problem that we have,” said Powell.

The Macon-Bibb County Industrial Authority has been working with the Brightmark team since late 2019 to try to identify the ideal site, said Stephen Adams, executive director of the industry authority. They also worked closely with local, state and federal agencies.

“This is a very exciting project that we have the chance to talk about now and to recognize that while it takes place here in Macon it will have a global impact… We are confident that this will bring great opportunities for the people of Canada. ‘to have jobs and to work there, but also while we solve a global problem, ”Adams said.

An inauguration date has not yet been set. Construction of the plant is expected to take two to three years, Powell said.

“We are still working closely with the Brightmark project team to identify the final site layout,” Adams said.

Brightmark’s first commercial facility for converting plastics into fuel is located in Ashley, Indiana.

Brightmark’s first advanced plastics renewal plant in Ashley, Indiana. The company announced that it will build “the world’s largest advanced plastics recycling and renewal facility in Macon-Bibb County, Georgia.” The total investment is expected to amount to more than $ 680 million in a new plant to make full use of the 5.3 million square foot site. Courtesy of Brightmark

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Becky Purser covers business news, having returned to Central Georgia in 2000. She has also covered crime and court primarily in Houston and Peach counties for The Telegraph. She has also covered local government for the Daily Sun when it was a Warner Robins daily, for the Kingsport Times-News in Tennessee, and for the Bristol Herald Courier in Virginia. She graduated from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville with a bachelor’s degree in communication.
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