The city of Phoenix Public Works Department is excited to announce a new partnership with Renew Phoenix that aims to turn plastics destined for the landfill into fuel. This innovative repurposing of what’s known as “Plastics 3-7,” or low-value plastics, is the latest venture in the city’s “Reimagine Phoenix” initiative to increase its diversion rate to 40 percent by the end of 2020, and ultimately reach zero waste by 2050.
“I believe in taking bold chances to make big change. The idea of making fuel with the plastics we are throwing away is certainly an ‘out of the box’ idea that I am thrilled to say will also bring jobs and revenue to our city,” said Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego. “During a time when cities are giving up on recycling, Phoenix is again leading the way in setting the gold standard for innovation and creativity.”
The need to find a way to re-use these materials comes on the heels of China no longer accepting certain recycled materials from the United States. This forced city leadership to think creatively to find new solutions for its recycled materials. Thanks to the foresight of the Phoenix City Council, this new project is now ready to take shape.
“The future is all about recycling, sustainability and doing our part to ensure future generations have a healthy planet,” said Councilwoman Thelda Williams, who serves as the chair of the Water, Wastewater, Infrastructure and Sustainability (WWIS) Subcommittee. “I am certain that once others see what we are doing, they will want to be part of this movement to prevent more materials being simply thrown away.”
The plan is for Renew Phoenix, a joint venture between Generated Materials Recovery and Renewlogy, to work together to build a facility to process the materials on the city’s Resource Innovation Campus.
“I am excited for what this partnership brings to Phoenix,” said Councilman Michael Nowakowski, whose district is home to the city’s Resource Innovation Campus. “This new, innovative venture will encourage other businesses to bring-next generation technology to Phoenix to help us reach our diversion goal of 40 percent by 2020.”
Renew Phoenix was selected through a competitive Request for Proposal (RFP) process. Their plan is to use a proprietary chemical recycling process to reverse the plastic back into its basic molecular structure, which will allow them to convert the plastic waste into fuel. Renew Phoenix will also bring as many as 15 full-time jobs to the valley, after investing more than five million dollars in capital to the project.
“Renewlogy is excited about bringing our technology to Phoenix and creating a more circular economy around plastic waste locally,” said Priyanka Bakaya, Founder and CEO of Renewlogy. “Phoenix will serve as a model for cities around the country looking for local solutions for plastic waste.”
Once at full production, the project is expected to divert ten tons per day of mixed plastic waste, which equates to 60 barrels of liquid fuel. This partnership will not only help Phoenix, but the Valley altogether. Renew Phoenix will be able to scale their production to allow regional remanufacturing of Plastics 3-7 to be processed as well.
“We are proud to continue bucking the trend and pushing forward with innovation, economic development and repurposing our waste,” said Ginger Spencer, city of Phoenix Public Works Director. “We are committed to building a circular economy and achieving our Reimagine Phoenix goals. This new venture to turn plastics into fuel is eye-opening and we hope it will serve as a model for other cities to reimagine their own recycling programs.”