Australian circular plastics joint venture wins sustainability award

Circular Plastics Australia
Thursday, 06 April, 2023

Australian circular plastics joint venture wins sustainability award

The Australian Institute of Project Management (AIPM) has announced the winners of the National Project Management Achievement Awards (PMAAs). Simon Kaleski, Acting CEO of the AIPM, said the awards benchmark outstanding achievements and innovations.

The winner of the Sustainable Projects category in 2022 was Pact Group’s Circular Plastics Australia (PET) Recycling Facility, Albury-Wodonga NSW. The $58m facility was built in 370 days after successfully navigating supply chain disruption, border bubbles and a tricky greenfield site.

With many Australians embracing more sustainable practices, the nation lacked the infrastructure needed to recycle used polyethylene terephthalate (PET) into resin to make new beverage bottles. With support from federal and state governments, the PET recycling facility was built with the aim of recycling 1 billion PET bottles per year, diverting thousands of tonnes of plastic waste from landfill and reducing the need to import virgin resin.

Sanjay Dayal, Managing Director and CEO of Pact Group, said this facility is a “game changer” for plastic recycling in Australia.

The project aims to create a circular economy in which beverage bottles are recycled into new beverage bottles which will be sold and re-recycled after consuming the beverage. This process will involve Pact Group operating the recycling facility, beverage companies such as Asahi Beverages and Coca-Cola Europacific Partners purchasing the recycled resin for their bottles, consumers purchasing the recycled product and Cleanaway Waste Management collecting the empty bottles and sending them back to the recycling facility.

“This 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,” said Paul Binfield, Cleanaway CFO.

The Pact Group team managed major disruption and challenges while constructing the facility.

“It is a great honour for the Pact team to be recognised for their commitment to delivering Australia’s biggest and most advanced PET plastic recycling facility on schedule while facing major challenges,” Dayal said upon accepting the award.

Following the success of the Albury project, the team has been deployed on two more projects. The PET joint venture is constructing another facility, this time in Melbourne, that will be able to recycle at the same capacity of the Albury facility. Pact Group and Cleanaway Waste Management are also constructing a plant in Melbourne that will process used plastic milk bottles and food tubs.

Image credit: iStock.com/sdominick

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