Brightmark, the global waste solutions company, today announced that a life cycle analysis of its plastics renewal technology has revealed that its proprietary, pyrolysis-based process produces 39%-139% fewer greenhouse gas emissions than equivalent products made from virgin materials. The data collection was conducted by the Georgia Institute of Technology with analysis by Environmental Clarity, Inc.
The life cycle analysis revealed that plastics renewal provides 82% energy use savings, 46% water use savings, and a 39%-139% reduction in carbon footprint. The technology’s carbon footprint benefit was further found to be directly correlated to the extent which a given country relied on incineration as a waste disposal method: In Europe, where 50% of plastics are incinerated, plastics renewal’s carbon footprint improvement jumps to 139% compared to equivalent virgin products.
“We commissioned this life cycle analysis so that we had total clarity on the environmental benefits offered by plastics renewal,” said Bob Powell, CEO and Founder of Brightmark. “These are massive savings, and we’ll seek to continue improving our environmental impact as our work advances. Plastics renewal is a world-changing technology, and it keeps our natural resources in use via the circle economy, while reducing our need for fossil fuel extraction and slashing climate change emissions.”
The Brightmark life cycle analysis included three groups of activities: plastics renewal and supply chain; the resulting avoided waste management system because of recycling; and the cradle-to-gate production of equivalent chemical products that would have to be made if recycling of waste plastics did not occur.
“Simply put, our life cycle analysis shows that products created by plastics renewal require 17% the amount of fossil fuels as the same family of hydrocarbon plastics made from virgin petroleum,” said Matthew Realff, Professor at Georgia Tech. “These improvements are significant when comparing technologies to make these products from virgin resources.”
“Brightmark’s plastic renewal technology reduces fossil fuel extraction, reduces landfill and incineration of waste, and cuts down carbon emissions relative to current practice,” said Drs. Evan Griffing and Michael Overcash, from Environmental Clarity. “We believe efforts to scale advanced plastic recycling technologies like Brightmark’s solution will provide substantial environmental and sustainability benefits to society.”
Brightmark’s plastics renewal life cycle analysis was peer-reviewed in March 2021 and found to be detailed, verifiable, and compliant with ISO 14041 and 14044.
Download an executive summary of the findings here.