From biodegradable packaging to lithium-ion battery recycling, this past year saw 10 project locations in the advanced recycling and recyclable materials sector, totaling over $1.8 billion in investment and creating 1,230 jobs for Georgians. While the industry is not new here in Georgia, home to companies like Novelis, one of the largest aluminum recyclers in the world, we have seen higher growth as corporations move towards a sustainable future. According to KPMG's 2020 Survey of Sustainability Report: The Time Has Come, 80% of top companies around the world now report on sustainability.
What is advanced recycling?
The process of breaking down recycled waste into its original state to then be used to create new products. Many advanced recycling companies sell this base component to manufacturing companies that use it to create anything from batteries to cat litter.
2021 Project Locations & Expansions
Schnitzer Steel is expanding at their Macon location, creating a new Advanced Aluminum Separation System. The company collects, processes, and recycles raw scrap metal, primarily aluminum, to be repurposed into finished products such as auto parts, rebar, wire rod, and coiled bar. Schnitzer has 5 other facilities across Georgia in Albany, Atlanta, Cartersville, Columbus, and Gainesville.
Igneo Technologies is creating over 150 jobs at the SeaPoint Industrial Terminal Complex in Savanah. The company is investing $85 million in an electronics recycling facility that removes reusable metals that are then sold to metal smelting companies.
"Igneo has found a great location to fully deploy its sustainable solution to the e-waste problem and we look forward to creating a lasting positive impact for the environment." - Danish Mir, CEO of Igneo
German company, Aurubis, a non-ferrous metal provider and one of the largest copper recyclers globally, is building a $340 million recycling and secondary-smelting facility at Augusta Corporate Park. The company produces more than 1 million tons of copper cathodes annually, and from them, makes a variety of products such as wire rod, continuous cast shapes, profiles, and flat rolled products made of copper and copper alloys.
Aurubis's new neighbor, PureCycle Technologies, is making a $440 million initial investment at Augusta Corporate Park to build a polypropylene (PP) plant. PureCycle recycles waste PP into ultra-pure recycled-PP for applications spanning consumer goods, automotive, building and construction, and industrial uses.
“Demand for high quality recycled polypropylene is continuing to outpace supply as brands seek sustainable materials for their products. Our Augusta operation will be pivotal in our quest to help solve for the plastics waste crisis.” - Mike Otworth, PureCycle CEO
Battery Resourcers is investing $43 million in a 154,000 square-foot commercial-scale battery recycling facility in Covington, creating over 150 jobs. The recycling process will return battery grade lithium, cobalt, and nickel back into the battery supply chain.
AMP Robotics is an advanced recycling company out of Colorado that applies AI and robotics to recover commodities reclaimed as raw materials for the global supply chain. The company is investing in an AI-powered recycling sorting facility in Lithonia where they will work to sort out recyclables which are typically overlooked by the other waste processors in the market.
XTG Plastics has started a plastics recycling operation in Montezuma. The company receives waste plastic material from packaging industry customers in the Southeast, recycles this into plastic pellets, then further converts the pellets into large, hefty liner type trash bags.
Celadon Development Corp. "Celadon" is opening their North American headquarters, as well as a recycled brown pulp manufacturing plant in Chatham County, in addition to their dry processing manufacturing facility that opened in November 2021. The $155 million investment will create 117 jobs in the Savannah area. Celadon companies process old corrugated cardboard and waste paper into clean commodity products for export.
Pratt Industries has operated a corrugated box converting plant in Albany since 1983 and is spending $18 million to expand on site. Pratt is a 100% recycled paper and packaging company.
Other companies in the sustainability chain
Here's a shout-out to the companies that aren't direct recycling facilities, but are creating products that are biodegradable and compostable!
Danimer Scientific is investing $700 million to expand their manufacturing operations in Bainbridge, creating 400 jobs. In partnership with Mars-Wrigley, Danimer is developing compostable packaging for Skittles!
NANTRenewables is spending $29 million to build a bioplastics manufacturing facility in Savannah, creating 134 jobs. The facility will produce biogenic fillers and biodegradable resins that provide renewable and sustainable alternatives to single-use plastics.