Albury–Wodonga recycling plant gets green light

Friday, 07 August, 2020

Albury–Wodonga recycling plant gets green light

A world-class recycling facility will be built in Albury–Wodonga to substantially increase the amount of recycled PET plastic produced in Australia each year from local waste.

Pact Group Holdings, Cleanaway Waste Management and Asahi Beverages have formally entered a joint venture to deliver the project, which will create dozens of direct jobs when construction starts in the coming months. The facility will be located at the Nexus Precinct, 10 km north of Albury–Wodonga’s CBD in NSW, and will be among the first businesses located at the new industrial precinct.

The $45 million facility is expected to recycle the equivalent of around 1 billion 600 mL PET plastic bottles each year; the bottles will be used as a raw material to produce new bottles as well as food and beverage packaging to help close the loop on recycling. This will see the amount of locally sourced and recycled PET produced in Australia increase by two-thirds — from around 30,000 tonnes currently to over 50,000 tonnes per annum, according to Pact Group.

The project will deliver other major environmental benefits,reducing Australia’s reliance on virgin plastic, the amount of plastic waste sent overseas and the amount of recycled plastic Australia imports. Solar energy will power part of the facility.

Construction will start towards the end of the year, pending approval from Albury Council, with the plant expected to be fully operational by December 2021.

The plant will draw on the expertise of each member of the joint venture, which will trade as Circular Plastics Australia (PET). Cleanaway will provide the plastic to be recycled through its collection and sorting network, Pact will provide technical and packaging expertise, and Asahi Beverages and Pact will buy the recycled plastic from the facility to use in their packaging.

The announcement follows the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the joint venture members earlier this year. The project was supported with nearly $5 million from the Environmental Trust as part of the NSW Government’s Waste Less, Recycle More initiative funded from the waste levy. The project was also made possible through the support of the Department of Regional NSW.

Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation CEO Brooke Donnelly said, “A huge congratulations to Pact Group, Asahi Beverages and Cleanaway on reaching this important milestone for the project.

“This new partnership is a real testament to the powerful impact of collaboration. By bringing together key roles within the plastic packaging supply chain, the partnership will ensure more PET plastic is collected, recycled and used again in future packaging — all the while reducing the strain on virgin materials and boosting a local economy with more jobs and greater opportunities.

“This industry-led, decisive leadership is fundamental to ensuring the successful delivery of Australia's 2025 National Packaging Targets,” Donnelly said.

Commenting on the arrangement, Pact Managing Director and CEO Sanjay Dayal said, “We are delighted to have formed this partnership. We would like to thank the NSW Government for their support enabling the acceleration of investment in local processing capacity. The arrangement is clearly aligned with our vision to lead the circular economy and will support Pact in achieving our 2025 Sustainability Promise to offer 30% recycled content across our packaging portfolio.”

Cleanaway CEO and Managing Director Vik Bansal said, “This partnership will create valuable raw materials from the recyclables we collect and sort to help make a sustainable future possible.

“Being the joint operator with TOMRA of the NSW Container Deposit Scheme has provided Cleanaway with confidence in the market to invest in this facility. This partnership has been made possible by the NSW Government and I’d like to thank Minister Kean for his continual support. This is a natural extension of our value chain and expands our footprint of prized assets.”

Asahi Beverage Group CEO Robert Iervasi said, “I’d like to thank Minister Matt Kean and the Albury Council for their support. I’d also like to acknowledge local Federal MP and Environment Minister Sussan Ley MP for her commitment to transform Australia’s waste and recycling capacity.

“We already have our beverage manufacturing plant in Albury. We are delighted to expand our presence there and create more local jobs. We’ve listened to our consumers and are committed to delivering them more recycled bottles. We are very pleased to be contributing to the creation of a truly circular economy and can’t wait to get this project started.”

Image caption: Cleanaway CEO Vik Bansal, Pact CEO Sanjay Dayal and Asahi Beverages Group CEO Robert Iervasi.

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