Large plastic recycling plant headed to Augusta

Second big plastic processing project announced in Georgia this summer

A plastic recycling company will bring a $440 million plant and about 80 full-time jobs to Augusta.

Purecycle Technologies says it will take in nearly 400 million pounds yearly of old polypropylene, which is used in producing carpet and other textiles, packaging and car and machines parts, and recycle it into new polypropylene resin.

The plant is expected to begin production in 2023 on a 200-acre site in Augusta Corporate Park.

It is the second large plastic processing plant announced this summer in Georgia. Brightmark, which processes all types of plastics into oil-based products that can be turned into diesel fuel and other industrial liquids, announced earlier it will build a plant in Macon that will take in about 200 million pounds of plastic wastes. Brightmark hopes in the future to also turn those liquids back into plastic.

Plastics are notoriously difficult to recycle and linger in the environment for hundreds of years.

The Environmental Protection Agency estimates the U.S. produced 35.7 million tons of plastic in 2018 but only 9% got recycled. About 5.6 million tons were burned to create energy, releasing greenhouse and toxic gases. And 27 million tons were buried in landfills or ended up in gutters, rivers and oceans.

Florida-based Purecycle said it will use advanced chemical and mechanical processes to break down plastics. The company’s website says it uses a non-toxic solvent process developed by consumer product maker Proctor & Gamble to produce virgin resin.

“We are thrilled that a solutions-oriented company like PureCycle will be joining the recycling ecosystem we’re cultivating in Georgia,” Georgia Department of Economic Development Commissioner Pat Wilson said in a press release.