$45 million PET recycling plant opens in Albury–Wodonga
A $45 million PET (polyethylene terephthalate) recycling plant, capable of processing one billion plastic bottles each year, has opened in Albury–Wodonga.
The facility is a joint venture partnership between Pact Group, Cleanaway Waste Management, Asahi Beverages and new partner Coca-Cola Europacific Partners (CCEP), trading as Circular Plastics Australia (PET).
Cleanaway will provide the plastic to be recycled through its collection and sorting network, Pact will operate the facility and provide technical and packaging expertise, and Asahi Beverages, CCEP and Pact will buy the recycled plastic from the facility to use in their packaging. While competitors in the beverage market, CCEP and Asahi Beverages have come together for this joint venture to deliver a significant increase in the volume of PET plastics recycled in Australia.
About 30,000 tonnes of PET will be recycled each year and will become recycled raw material to produce new beverage bottles plus other food and beverage packaging in Australia, contributing to closing the loop on recycling.
Federal Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley, NSW Minister for Environment and Heritage James Griffin and Mayor of Albury City Cr Kylie King officially opened the facility, located at the Nexus Precinct, 10 km north of Albury–Wodonga’s CBD in NSW.
Minister Ley said the Circular Plastics Australia joint venture was born out of Australia’s first ever national plastics summit.
“Pact Group made a $500 million commitment at our first national plastic summit in 2020 and they, along with their JV partners Cleanaway, Asahi Beverages and Coca-Cola Europacific Partners, have made that a reality today. This demonstrates commitment to our national packaging targets when the supply chain and government work together,” Ley said.
Pact’s Managing Director and CEO, Sanjay Dayal, said the project is a “game changer for Australia’s plastic recycling industry. We are proud to be part of a sustainable solution to divert plastic waste from landfill and ensure we are recycling and manufacturing our drink bottles and food packaging here in Australia without the need to import plastic material from overseas.”
Cleanaway’s Chief Financial Officer, Paul Binfield, said the bottle-to-bottle plastic recycling facility brings the circular economy onshore to Australia, giving everyone a chance to participate in making a sustainable future possible by recycling their bottles and buying beverages in recycled plastic packaging. “Together with our partners, Cleanaway is working on a network of plastics recycling facilities integrated with our leading collection and sorting infrastructure to provide our customers with the most sustainable and circular solution for their plastic recycling.”
Asahi Beverages’ Group CEO, Robert Iervasi, said Asahi Beverages already has a large beverage manufacturing plant in Albury, and that “we are excited to expand our presence, helping create more local jobs and helping lead the acceleration of Australia’s circular economy. Our consumers told us they wanted more recycled bottles, and together we have worked out a way to do that that will make a real impact.”
Coca-Cola Europacific Partner’s Vice President and General Manager Australia, Pacific and Indonesia, Peter West, said CCEP with its partners is working towards creating a closed loop for their bottles where they are used, collected and given another life. This plant, and the future Victorian plant, will complete this loop, help to solve the national rPET shortage and create new jobs for Australian workers, said West.
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