Company Announces Massive Plastics Recycling Facility in Georgia

Meanwhile, Plans for a Plant in Pennsylvania Get Shelved by Another Company

Company Announces Massive Plastics Recycling Facility in Georgia
Digital Exclusive

A California company intends to invest $950 million in a plastics recycling plant in Georgia, using pyrolysis to convert 400,000 tons of waste plastics annually into new products.

Brightmark says it will develop a 2.5-million-square-foot “circularity center” in Thomaston, which is about 65 miles south of Atlanta.

“Brightmark’s proprietary Plastics Renewal® technology takes discarded plastic content and converts it into the materials to create new circular plastic products, diverting waste otherwise bound for landfills, incinerators, and waterways,” according to the company.

The project will create about 200 advanced manufacturing jobs.

The company says its process involves three primary steps:

  1. Plastic waste is purchased and prepped for conversion by removing metals and other nonplastic materials. It then shreds the plastic and compresses it into pellets.
  2. The pellets are heated and vaporized in an oxygen-starved environment.
  3. The released vapor is captured and cooled into a hydrocarbon liquid, then processed into circular pyrolysis oil that can then be used to make new products.

Plans for Pennsylvania Plant Shelved

The April 2024 announcement about the Georgia project came about the same time that another company said it was pulling out of a chemical recycling project in Pennsylvania.

Texas-based Encina Development Group LLC said in April 2024 that it would no longer pursue a project in Point Township, Pennsylvania, which is about 60 miles north of Harrisburg.

Encina said it decided to concentrate on other projects under development or review in the United States, Saudi Arabia, and Southeast Asia.

“After careful consideration and thorough analysis, Encina’s management team has decided not to proceed with the construction of our circular manufacturing facility in Point Township, Pennsylvania, but will move forward in our other customer markets,” Encina CEO Dave Roesser says in a statement.

The project received opposition from residents near the proposed plant, according to reports from Environment Health News, which is published by Environmental Health Sciences, a nonpartisan group that follows environmental policies.

The company announced its plans in 2022 after the State of Pennsylvania had reclassified advanced recycling technologies as manufacturing, which enabled Encina to proceed, the company said in a statement, while thanking state and local officials for their support.

“While we were excited about the many attractive opportunities for expansion and growth in Point Township, we have determined that our current strategic objectives and long-term goals will be better met through this decision,” Roesser said.

Encina’s technology breaks waste plastics down to the molecular level. That reduces the amount of fossil feedstocks required to create high-value, industrial-grade circular chemicals like benzene, toluene, and xylenes (BTX), the company says.

“These circular chemicals form the building blocks that global manufacturing customers use to meet their renewable content goals while enabling the use and reuse of plastics in industries such as consumer products, packaging, pharmaceuticals, and construction,” according to the company.

Thomas A. Barstow is senior editor of FlexPACK VOICE®.