Advancing plastics recycling in Australia

Wednesday, 16 February, 2022

Advancing plastics recycling in Australia

The Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) has welcomed the recent announcement that Qenos and Cleanaway are working together to develop new advanced plastics recycling capabilities for Australia.

Plastics manufacturer Qenos and recycling company Cleanaway have agreed to develop a feasibility study of plastic-to-plastic advanced recycling. The organisations will be looking into how to create a circular economy by recycling up to 100,000 tons per year of soft and mixed plastics waste into recycled polyethylene plastic for use in new, food-grade plastic packaging.

“This project will be a huge step towards a plastics circular economy in Australia and achieving the National Packaging Targets from local inputs,” said Qenos CEO Stephen Bell.

“Qenos and Cleanaway are playing a leadership role in seeking to ensure Australian manufacturing fully participates in a new global industry that is forecast to attract $680 billion in investment by 2050.”

The AFGC is developing the National Plastics Recycling Scheme, an industry-led push to boost plastic recycling that will encourage cooperation between food companies to meet the National Packaging Targets.

“This is an example of the collaboration and investment needed to create an effective and sustainable circular economy for plastic packaging in Australia,” said AFGC CEO Tanya Barden of the memorandum of understanding.

“Plastic packaging has an important role — it keeps food safe and fresh, reduces food waste and helps keep products intact.”

“The majority of that plastic is a valuable resource that can be recycled and food and grocery manufacturers understand that it is critical that we maximise recycling to reduce the need for virgin plastics and avoid harmful effects on the environment.

“Food and grocery manufacturers, the waste and recycling industry and plastics manufacturers are committing significant resources to meeting the challenge of addressing plastic waste and meeting the National Packaging Targets.”

The feasibility study will be completed by July 2022 and pending its successful outcome it is expected that the first advanced recycling facilities will be online by 2025.

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