December 2014

Synergy Solutions Crisp County, LP

THE PROJECT

In December 2014, AMCREF Community Capital provided $13.75 million of NMTC financing to Synergy Solutions Crisp County, LLC. Synergy will renovate, upgrade and operate an existing waste management facility to provide the following: 1) municipal waste recycling; 2) recycling of containers from various bottling facilities; and 3) using waste sugar-based beverages, such as soft drinks and alcohol, to produce fuel-grade ethanol. Synergy is located in a severely distressed rural census tract with 21.9% unemployment and few employment opportunities beyond agriculture. The existing facility was constructed in 1998 by a Crisp County initiative to become a waste management leader in the region and was funded via a county bond offering. Unfortunately, the plant filed for bankruptcy in 2008, laying off 200 workers. The community was also adversely impacted by the closure of several major local employers. Synergy will provide 100% landfill-free recycling of unsalable sugar-based products to manufacturers and distributors of soft drinks, beer and distilled spirits. These unsalable products are an expensive waste by-product for beverage companies, who are required to treat the waste prior to disposal in landfills or sewer systems. Instead, Synergy will recycle and convert this liquid into valuable fuel-grade ethanol. The plant will also use state-of-the-art technology to sort, clean and package recyclables for reuse in the marketplace.

COMMUNITY IMPACT

  • Job Creation and Support: 113 direct FTEs, including 99 created and 14 retained, and 10 direct construction jobs. Synergy provides full benefits, training and pays average annual wages that are well above the local living wage.
  • Environmental Benefits: Utilizing sugary beverage waste to provide up to 4mm gallons of ethanol per year. Blending ethanol into gasoline also reduces harmful air emissions. Recycling up to 442,000 tons of material per year including plastics, aluminum and glass. Management plans to incorporate numerous state-of-the-art waste technologies to further increase operating efficiencies, including: 1) proprietary waste water purification technology; 2) gasification to produce renewable energy via syngas and bio-char which is sold locally as fertilizer; and 3) fiberizer technology to improve the separation and cleaning of MSW and recyclables. Operations will offset an estimated 887,000 tons of CO2-equivalent emissions each year.
  • Community Support and Impacts: Community was adversely impacted by the closure of the original waste facility and local government and EDOs are eager to see it reopened. Synergy will help revitalize and return jobs to a rural community with extremely high unemployment and few job opportunities. 95% of FTEs are hires from within the local community and jobs are well-suited to LIPs/LIC residents (most do not require a college degree).
  • Economic/Catalytic Effects: The project is strongly supported by regional government, EDOs and community groups.