Brightmark and NOAA’s Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Announce Buoy Plastic Recycling Partnership

SAN FRANCISCO & FLORIDA KEYS, Florida–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Brightmark LLC, the global provider of waste management solutions, and Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS), today announced a new plastic recycling partnership that will reduce landfill waste and amplify concerns about ocean plastics.

The Sanctuary Buoy Team is responsible for the maintenance of mooring and informational buoys throughout the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. These buoys mark ecological reserves and also provide an option for boats engaged in fishing, diving, snorkeling or research to moor rather than anchor, which protects the reefs below. Previously, when these buoys reached end-of-life status, they were sent to landfills as they were considered too difficult to recycle. However, through this new partnership with Brightmark, FKNMS buoys and droplines will be recycled for the first time and converted to new circular plastics and low carbon fuel, and wax, enabling cleaner waters and reduced plastic waste in landfills.

The launch of the partnership follows a successful pilot phase, with an initial goal to annually recycle plastic buoys and droplines from the upper and lower Sanctuary Keys locations, effectively and sustainably reducing marine plastic pollution in the Floridas. Keys and increasing plastic recycling. By recycling these buoys and droplines into materials for new products instead of sending them to landfill, Brightmark and FKNMS are taking meaningful and tangible action to help manage the plastic waste crisis. Ultimately, Brightmark and FKNMS aim to expand this program nationwide.

“Our partnership with the sanctuary is a critical and one-of-a-kind collaboration that will extract and divert plastic from our oceans,” said Bob Powell, Founder and CEO of Brightmark. “This program is further proof of how our innovative advanced recycling technology can play a critical role in ‘trash reimaging’ to solve the plastic waste crisis in our oceans with a truly circular solution.”

“This initiative reinforces our commitment to protecting the environment,” said Sarah Fangman, superintendent of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. “I am proud that Buoy Team Member Benjamin D’Avanzo recognized the need for a sustainable alternative to our plastic waste and continued this partnership with Brightmark.”

To commemorate the partnership, Brightmark has produced a short documentary about the buoy team which will be available for viewing today. This documentary will follow the daily operations of the FKNMS buoy team, starting with buoy maintenance and how mooring materials are sent for recycling through Brightmark – highlighting NOAA’s very important work in the Florida Keys, as well as innovative solutions provided by Brightmark.

For more information and to access video content covering the partnership, click here.


Brightmark LLC is a global waste management solutions company on a mission to reinvent waste. The company takes a holistic, closed-loop, circular economy approach to tackling the world’s most pressing environmental challenges with imagination and optimism for the future. Through the deployment of ground-breaking, groundbreaking waste-to-energy solutions focused on plastics (plastic-to-plastic) renewal and renewable natural gas (organic-waste-to-fuel), Brightmark enables programs specifically tailored to environmental needs to build project solutions that positively impact the world and the communities in which its stakeholders live and work. For more information, visit


Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary is one of 16 marine protected areas that make up the National Marine Sanctuary System. Administered by NOAA, a federal agency, and managed jointly with the State of Florida, the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary protects 3,800 square miles of waters surrounding the Florida Keys from south of Miami west to encompass the Dry Tortugas, excluding Dry Tortugas National Park. The coastal boundary of the sanctuary is the mean high water mark, which means that once you set foot in the waters of the Keys, you have entered the sanctuary.