What can a kid’s castoff toy dinosaur or plastic doll become? Just ask the adorable seven-year-old Jude.
It may seem a bit far-fetched, but at Brightmark’s facility in Ashley, Indiana, advanced recycling technologies are turning today’s discarded toys and other used plastics into fuels, waxes, motor oil lubricants… and eventually ingredients to make new plastics.
Brightmark collects used plastics from curbside collection programs and industrial partners in Indiana and the Chicago area. The company uses an advanced recycling technology known as pyrolysis to break down plastics to the molecular level, what it calls a “closed loop solution [that] converts the plastic waste directly into useful products, including renewable fuels and wax, and is also capable of creating the building blocks for new plastics, enabling a circular economy in the plastics industry.”
At full scale, the facility will be able to keep 100,000 tons of plastics out of landfills each year. By 2025, the facility is expected to offset 6 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year, the same as taking 1.3 million gas-powered cars off the road for a year. In addition to reducing plastic waste, the Brightmark facility is expected to create more than 130 jobs in Northeast Indiana while contributing nearly $140 million into the local economy as initial capital investment.
And Brightmark is expanding – the company plans to build what it calls the “world’s largest advanced plastics recycling and renewal facility” in Macon, Georgia. When completed, the 5.3 million square-foot facility will divert 400,000 tons of plastic waste each year from landfills or incinerators.
Of course, many other companies are working toward a circular economy for plastics, like Brightmark, investing billions of dollars in plastics recycling over the last few years.
But only Brightmark has a seven-year-old explain it so well. Check out the video.
Click here for more information about advanced recycling. Continue to visit America’s Plastic Makers: Making Sustainable ChangeSM to learn more about the steps we are taking to help end plastic waste, build a circular economy for plastics and create a more sustainable future.
Pyrolysis: In pyrolysis, plastics are heated to between 400 degrees Celsius and 600 degrees Celsius in the absence of oxygen. During this process, polymers (such as polyethylene, polypropylene and mixed plastic streams) are broken down into hydrocarbons, which can then be processed further into chemicals and other polymers indistinguishable from virgin materials.