Construction is now underway on Australia’s largest end-to-end PET recycling facility in Albury-Wodonga, which will see the equivalent of around one billion plastic bottles recycled each year.
Environment Minister Sussan Ley marked the official start of construction by turning the first sod on-site in the Nexus Precinct, 10km outside the Albury CBD in NSW. Solar energy will power part of the facility.
“This project is integral to ensuring the successful delivery of Australia’s 2025 National Packaging Targets. It will create local jobs during construction and permanent jobs when it begins operations,” Ley said.
Delivered as a joint venture between Asahi Beverages, Pact Group Holdings and Cleanaway Waste Management – Circular Plastics Australia PET – the $45 million plant is set to be fully operational by October, two months earlier than initially planned.
The raw plastic material that Circular Plastics Australia PET will recycle each year will be used to produce more than 20,000 tonnes of new recycled PET bottles and food packaging.
“This new facility for PET plastic will recycle the containers collected through the NSW Return and Earn scheme and Cleanaway’s Material Recovery Facilities, helping create a domestic circular economy,” said Vik Bansal, Cleanaway CEO and managing director.
“We’re proud that Cleanaway’s Footprint 2025 strategy has reached a point where we’re not only providing the right infrastructure for resource recovery, but extending the value-chain to ensure that material is optimised for recycling into new products.”
According to Pact Group, the new facility will increase the amount of locally sourced and recycled PET produced in the country by two thirds – from around 30,000 tonnes to over 50,000 tonnes per year.
The plant will also reduce Australia’s reliance on virgin plastic and the amount of recycled plastic the country imports.
“The facility will reimagine domestic manufacturing and recycling, and our investment in building this plant is central to Pact’s strategy, which is to lead the plastics circular economy in Australia,” said Sanjay Dayal, Pact Group CEO.
“This project would not have been possible without increased demand for locally-processed recycled content from forward-thinking companies who are keen to meet Australia’s 2025 National Packaging Targets.
“And we know attitudes to recycling are shifting, with a recent poll from research company Quantum showing three quarters of Australians wanted more locally recycled content in their packaging.”
According to Asahi Beverage’s group CEO, Robert Iervasi, along with the beverage manufacturing plant in Albury, the new plant is part of the company’s long-term commitment to the region.
“This will be a world-class facility that helps transform Australia’s recycling capacity and the Albury-Wodonga region should be proud of its contribution to manufacturing and recycling in Australia,” Iervasi said.
“Asahi is excited to be partnering with Pact Group and Cleanaway to make this investment and create more jobs for the region.”
The project was made possible with the assistance of almost $5 million from the Environmental Trust as part of the NSW government’s Waste Less, Recycled More initiative.
It is funded from the waste levy, with the support of the Department of Regional NSW and the Australian government’s Recycling Modernisation Fund.