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Georgia Water group puts Macon Brightmark plant on 'Dirty Dozen' list

The environmental group argues that the plastics-recycling plant would release greenhouse gases and highly toxic chemicals

MACON, Ga. — A Georgia environmental group says a proposed Bibb County recycling plant poses a serious threat to the state's water. The Georgia Water Coalition put the proposed Brightmark plant on their Dirty Dozen list for 2021.

This spring, Brightmark proposed the world's largest plastics recycling plant. They hope to build a 5-million square foot plant that would cost an estimated $680 million.

According to the coalition, Brightmark plans to turn 400,000 tons of plastic waste each year into:

  • 64 million gallons of ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel
  • Naptha blend, used to produce gas, kerosene and lighter fluid
  • 20 million gallons of wax

The Macon-Bibb Industrial Authority is considering backing $500 million in revenue bonds for the project, but the coalition says critics argue that the plant would release greenhouse gases and highly toxic chemicals.

"No public funds should be used to support a project that contributes to the growing climate crisis," they wrote.

The group also argues that America should reduce its use of plastics rather than continue its dependence.

"Macon-Bibb leaders should consider the negative local and global impacts of the proposed Brightmark facility before issuing bonds to fund this project," the coalition wrote.

Last week, a Brightmark spokesman told 13WMAZ that they'll help solve environmental problems -- not create them. He also said the plant's emissions would be like those from a medium-sized hospital.

Brightmark hope to begin construction in early 2023 on Walden Road in south Bibb County.

The industrial authority has not said when they will vote on bonds for the project.

RELATED: CEO of new Macon recycling company, Brightmark, says plant will have minimal emissions

RELATED: What does $540 million in bonds sought for Macon-Bibb projects mean for taxpayers?