Brightmark pilots recycling program in Indiana

Brightmark's Ashley facility shreds plastic waste into pellets for usable products like fuel and wax (photo courtesy of Brightmark Energy)

ASHLEY, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) – California-based Brightmark Energy has completed a pilot program for boat wrap collection with a marine services dealer located near the company’s plastics-to-fuel plant in the Steuben County town of Ashley. Brightmark says the project, supported by the Northeast Indiana Solid Waste Management District, aimed to divert the boat wrap taken from boats in winter storage from going into the waste stream.

Brightmark says the wrap, which is a low-density polyethylene, is similar to heavy duty garbage bags and is difficult to recycle. The company says it can create a second use for the old wrap by collecting it from local marinas and turning it into a fuel source for local vehicles and power boats, instead of sending the wrap to local landfills.

Brightmark says the collected material will be used as a feedstock to produce transportation fuel and wax at the Ashley facility. The diesel and gasoline blendstocks produced from the boat wrap and other co-mingled plastic waste will be sold to United Kingdom-based BP (NYSE: BP) and sent to the wholesale transportation fuel pool in the Midwest.

Brightmark says its now planning an expansion of the program to additional marinas located in the counties serviced by NISWMD, which include DeKalb, LaGrange, Noble and Steuben counties.

“A lot of our boat owners have asked what they can do with the boat wrap because they want to do right by the environment, but we haven’t been able to give them a good solution,” said Terry Archbold, owner of Dry Dock Marina in Angola. “Now we can give them a suitable option and fulfill that need to act sustainably.”

Brightmark says there are more than 11 million boats registered in the U.S., of which many need to be wrapped when they are in dry dock during the winter months. The amount of boat wrap removed each year, when recycled, would equal nearly 21,000 barrels of renewable fuel.