Pact Group, Cleanaway Waste Management, and Asahi Beverages have formally entered a joint venture to build a $45m recycling plant in Albury/Wodonga. The companies say the facility will substantially increase the amount of PET produced in Australia from local waste.
The facility is expected to recycle the equivalent of about 1 billion 600ml 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 in Australia 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 more than 50,000 tonnes per annum, according to Pact Group.
Other major environmental benefits the new facility is to deliver include 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.
The $45m facility will be located at the Nexus Precinct, 10 kilometres north of Albury/Wodonga’s CBD in New South Wales. It will be among the first businesses located at the new industrial precinct.
Construction is slated to start towards the end of the year, pending approval from Albury Council. The facility is 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. Cleanaway will provide the plastic to be recycled through its collection and sorting network, Pact will provide technical and packaging expertise while Asahi Beverages and Pact will buy the recycled plastic from the facility to use in their packaging.
The establishment of the joint venture follows the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the joint venture members in February.
The project was supported with nearly $5m 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 congratulated Pact Group, Asahi Beverages and Cleanaway on reaching the 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,” Donnelly said.
“This industry-led, decisive leadership is fundamental to ensuring the successful delivery of Australia’s 2025 National Packaging Targets.”
Pact managing director and CEO Sanjay Dayal said the company was “delighted” to have formed the partnership.
“We would like to thank the NSW government for their support enabling the acceleration of investment in local processing capacity,” Dayal said.
“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 per cent recycled content across our packaging portfolio.”
Cleanaway CEO and managing director Vik Bansal said the partnership would create valuable raw materials from the recyclables the company collects and sorts and 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,” Bansal said.
“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 thanked Minister Matt Kean and the Albury Council for their support.
“I’d also like to acknowledge local federal MP and Environment Minister Sussan Ley, for her commitment to transform Australia’s waste and recycling capacity. We already have our beverage manufacturing plant in Albury,” Iervasi said.
“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.”