Inside INdiana Business

California company wants your plastic waste

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

SAN FRANCISCO, CA (Inside INdiana Business) — San Francisco-based Brightmark is launching what it calls the largest-ever solicitation of plastic waste in order to convert it into sustainable fuels. The company, which has a new operation in northeast Indiana, wants to collect more than 1.2 million tons of plastic from the eastern half of the country per year.

The company’s plan is to recycle the plastic at its existing and planned plastics renewal plants across the country. 

Brightmark’s plastics-to-fuel plant in the Steuben County town of Ashley is in a testing phase and plans are to bring the facility to production-scale next year. The company is currently finding locations for new recycling facilities in Florida, New York, Georgia, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, or Texas.

The company’s plan is to make final site decisions by fourth quarter of this year and have two sites ready to build by 2021.

“Brightmark is on a mission to reimagine waste and wants your difficult-to-recycle plastics – and we want all of them,” said Brightmark CEO Bob Powell. “Plastics 3-7, in particular, are not easily recycled with other technologies, and typically end up in landfills, incinerators, or sadly – in our oceans. We’re proud to have a proven, breakthrough closed loop solution for transforming these raw materials back into useful products.”

The company’s technology converts single-stream, post-use plastics into ultra-low sulfur diesel, naphtha, and wax, along with allowing the capability of creating the building blocks for new plastics.

Brightmark anticipates the next phase of its advanced recycling projects to be up and running by 2023, with the facilities expected to process a minimum of 400,000 tons each year. Hubs are being developed to allow for material collection throughout the eastern half of the country, to gather and bale materials to be shipped to recycling plants.

“Our partnership with Brightmark has enabled us to dramatically increase the amount of materials we can accept for processing,” say Gregg Keesling, president of Indianapolis-based RecycleForce, which trains formerly incarcerated individuals for jobs in the recycling industry. “They’re taking 1,700 tons per month of our plastics from televisions, computers, car seats, hospitals and other products. And now that we have a consistent customer for those materials, we can train, hire, and help more people.”

Companies interested in supplying materials must be able to produce a 1,000-ton minimum of feedstock per year, and can learn more here

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