Brightmark and NOAA’s Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Announce Buoy Plastic Recycling Partnership

September 13th, 2022
Reading time: 3 minutes

Brightmark and Buoy Team to facilitate recycling of inoperative mooring, boundary and informational buoys in the Florida Keys.



SAN FRANCISCO & FLORIDA KEYS, FL – Sept. 13, 2022 – Brightmark LLC, the global waste solutions provider, and Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS), today announced a new plastic recycling partnership that will reduce landfill waste and amplify concerns about ocean plastics.  

The sanctuary’s buoy team is responsible for maintaining the mooring and informational buoys throughout the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. These buoys mark ecological reserves and also provide an option for boats engaged in fishing, diving, snorkeling or conducting research to tie up to as opposed to anchoring, which protects the reefs below. Previously, when these buoys reached end-of-life status, they were sent to landfills as they were considered too difficult to recycle. However, through this new partnership with Brightmark, FKNMS buoys and downlines will be recycled for the first time and converted into new circular plastics and lower-carbon fuel, and wax, allowing for cleaner waters and reduced plastic waste in landfills. 

The partnership’s launch follows a successful pilot phase, with an initial goal to recycle plastic buoys and downlines annually from the sanctuary’s upper and lower Keys locations, effectively and sustainably decreasing marine plastic pollution in the Florida Keys and increasing plastic recycling. By recycling these buoys and downlines into materials for new products instead of being sent to a landfill, Brightmark and FKNMS are taking meaningful and tangible steps to aid in handling the plastic waste crisis. Ultimately, Brightmark and FKNMS aim to expand this program nationally.   

“Our partnership with the sanctuary is an essential and first-of-its-kind collaboration that will pull and divert plastic from our oceans,” said Bob Powell, Brightmark Founder and Chief Executive Officer. “This program is another proof point of how our innovative advanced recycling technology can play a critical role in ‘Reimaging Waste’ to solve the plastic waste crisis in our oceans with a truly circular solution.” 

“This initiative elevates our commitment to protect the environment,” said Sarah Fangman, Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Superintendent. “I’m proud that buoy team member Benjamin D’Avanzo recognized the need for a sustainable alternative to our plastics waste and pursued this partnership with Brightmark.”  

To commemorate the partnership, Brightmark has produced a short documentary on the buoy team which will be available to view today. This documentary will follow the daily operations of the FKNMS Buoy Team, starting with the buoy maintenance and how the mooring materials are sent to be recycled through Brightmark – highlighting the all-important work of NOAA in the Florida Keys, as well as the innovative solutions provided by Brightmark.  

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