Brightmark Announces Intent to Invest $950 million in Upson County, Georgia to Tackle Plastic Pollution

April 23rd, 2024
Reading time: 4 minutes

New Flagship Plastics Circularity Center in Thomaston, Georgia, to Establish Region as a Center for Environmental Excellence

  • Of the total investment, $20M will be dedicated to ancillary local infrastructure, including utilities, roads, rail access, and other resources to operationalize the business and positively impact the local economy and tax base.
  • Brightmark has been a Level One partner of the Georgia Recycling Coalition (GRC) since 2021 and supports conferences, recycling initiatives, and educational programs in partnership with GRC.
  • Brightmark has recycled over 2,000 tons of plastic waste to date.


Thomaston, GAApril 23, 2024 Brightmark LLC, a circular solutions company with a mission to Reimagine Waste®, announced plans to develop a 2.5 million-square-foot circularity center in Thomaston, Georgia, with the capacity to repurpose over 400,000 tons of plastic per year. 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.

Brightmark selected the City of Thomaston because of its desire to grow alongside a strong community partner and responsible corporate actor. Brightmark’s dedication to economic advancement in the Peach State is highlighted by a $950 million investment, which will bring nearly 200 advanced manufacturing jobs, improvements to regional infrastructure, and support economic growth and development in rural West Central Georgia.

Plastic pollution is a serious issue affecting our communities today: A staggering 95% of all plastic products in the U.S. do not get recycled. Instead, discarded waste piles up in landfills, pollutes waterways, or is left as litter in our communities. Recent studies of recycling programs in the Southeast reveal that less than half (49%) of the population has access to drop-off recycling; 42% of communities offer curbside collection, and 10% of the population has no access to recycling at all.

Brightmark’s Plastics Renewal® solution repurposes existing material on a large scale, including hard-to-recycle plastics from a variety of sources, such as industrial sites, manufacturing facilities, and schools. The company also works with material recovery facilities (MRF) to capture post-consumer plastic. Brightmark then converts these plastics into materials used to create new circular products that can be reused, reducing the need for new plastic. The new facility will provide a unique waste management capability to the Southeast region that has not existed in the past, and it will have the ability to process mixed plastic waste streams so they can be safely converted back into fully circular products.

“Over the years, Brightmark has invested heavily in talent and innovation required to build and refine a circular solution capable of tackling one of the most complex issues of our time: recycling,” said Brightmark Founder and CEO and Georgia native, Bob Powell. “This investment in Georgia represents a commitment to supporting economic longevity and playing an integral role in building a sustainable future together in my home state. We’re thrilled to be able to offer a circular solution that will make a positive environmental and economic impact on a region so near and dear to my heart.”

Brightmark will be a community partner to Thomaston and Upson County and is prepared to support the goals of the community, its economy, and, most importantly, the health and safety of its people.

“We are pleased to welcome Brightmark to the Thomaston-Upson County business community,” said Thomaston Mayor John David “J.D.” Stallings. “As Thomaston approaches the 200th anniversary of our founding, we look to the future and welcome business partners like Brightmark who are focused on building upon the economic stability and urban growth this town has always been known for.”

Brightmark is steadfast in its commitment to protect the Thomaston and Upson County environment, particularly the water, air, and land that surrounds the site. Extensive planning and investment will be undertaken to ensure there are strong measures to mitigate environmental risk. Brightmark will invest over $1 million to enable a Zero Liquid Discharge technology to ensure that all process wastewater is managed and processed on-site, thereby preventing any contact with any municipal water supply, including drinking water, groundwater, the Flint River, and other local waterways. The company’s circularity center will be considered a synthetic minor emitter—implementing the best available technologies to reduce emissions.

The dedication to the health and safety of employees and the communities where it operates is core to the company’s values and mission. We have established policies and procedures that, in many instances, meet or exceed industry best practices to ensure employee safety. Brightmark will implement detailed procedures to ensure employee safety, including strong training on critical areas such as operating procedures, emergency response, remediation, and lifesaving protocols. The Health and Safety team will establish a detailed Emergency Action Plan (EAP) for Thomaston that goes beyond regulatory requirements.

Brightmark intends to invest $20 million in additive infrastructure projects pursuant to agreements with the city and state as part of the total investment, including upgrades to utilities, roadway improvements, rail access extensions, and other necessary resources to operationalize the business, improve local infrastructure, and positively impact the community, the local economy and tax base.

“This is a tremendous win for Thomaston-Upson County, and we are thrilled to welcome Brightmark to our community,” said Chase Fallin, Chairman, Thomaston-Upson County Industrial Development Authority. “Creating jobs, growing our community, and building for our future is the cornerstone of economic development. This project encompasses all of those tenets. We welcome Brightmark to our community and look forward to seeing the project prosper.”

“I am excited to welcome Brightmark to Upson County.  Bringing diverse industries to Upson has been a priority for some time and I’m proud of our efforts to bring this project home,” said Norman Allen, Chairman, Upson County Board of Commissioners. “Over the last year and a half, Brightmark has demonstrated a strong desire to become a collaborative partner and responsible steward of the local environment.  I have visited their plant in Ashley, Indiana and was impressed by what I saw.  I want to thank everyone who had a hand in making this happen. This is a huge win!”

For more information on Brightmark’s flagship circularity center in Georgia, please visit here.

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