Discussions to bring Brightmark to Macon-Bibb County end
"I was completely thrilled. I jumped out of bed and wrote everybody."
MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT)— Brightmark’s planned plastic’s recycling facility for Macon-Bibb County is no more. The Macon-Bibb Industrial Authority and Macon-Bibb County have mutually agreed with Brightmark to end discussions.
“I was completely thrilled. I jumped out of bed and wrote everybody,” said Jill Neimark, science journalist turned advocate.
Neimark opposed Brightmark from the start. She believes Macon-Bibb Mayor, Lester Miller, pulling his support of the project played a big role in ending discussions.
“He initially gave it. And when he saw how polluting it was and how risky it was he withdrew his support,” she said.
Jessica Wahl is a Clean Energy Associate with Environment Georgia, a group that opposed Brightmark. Their concerns included the impact on public health and climate change. She shared her reaction to the news.
“I was relieved Macon said no to this plastic to fuel shell game once and for all,” she said. “Because burning plastic trash, essentially burning fossil fuels to burn more fossil fuels, is the last thing we should be doing.”
Wahl thinks part of the reason discussion ended was because of issues with their plant in Indiana.
She says their process of pyrolysis, which turns plastic into fuel, has never been demonstrated to scale or even in a lab.
“Their processes are proprietary and protected so no one can really look at that data,” she said. “Since it hasn’t been done at scale successfully. There’s also not much information on what the byproducts or health impacts are.”
Neimark says her message is to not let a large corporation scare you out of fighting for what you think is right.
“The lesson is you can make a difference. You can protect your community, you can protect your water, you can protect your air. You just have to be persistent and keep at it,” she said.
According to Environment Georgia, there’s concerns Brightmark will move their plans to other counties in Georgia. Environment Georgia say they’ll keep an eye out for when, or if that happens.