Amcor and Mondelez invest in Licella’s first recycling facility in Australia

Licella's engineering team with Mondelez packaging at the company's pilot plant on Central Coast, NSW. Image credit: Licella

Construction is set for one of Australia’s first advanced plastic recycling facilities following an announcement that packaging company Amcor and food company Mondelez will invest in Licella’s Catalytic Hydrothermal Reactor (Cat-HTR) technology.

The international collaboration aims to further advance a circular economy for plastic packaging in Australia, Mondelez said in a media release.

In particular, Licella will employ its Cat-HTR technology to recycle end-of-life plastic into a crude oil replacement appropriate for the production of new food-grade plastic packaging.

The new facility in Melbourne, called Advanced Recycling Victoria (ARV), will initially handle roughly 20,000 tonnes of end-of-life plastic per year, with plans to ramp up to 120,000 tonnes per year.

Mondelez International will also be able to meet the majority of its Australian soft plastic packaging demands by using recycled content from the ARV site through Amcor, which will cut down on its need for virgin plastic.

Dr Len Humphreys, CEO of Licella, stated that industry leadership is necessary to get Australia closer to more sustainable plastic waste solutions that have positive effects on the economy and the environment.

“This is the leading technology of its kind globally, and it was developed here in Australia. This investment will help advance our Australian facility at a time when demand for sustainable plastic solutions, that also help provide food-grade recycled content, is growing exponentially,” Humphreys said.

Christine Montenegro McGrath, Senior Vice President and Chief Global Impact and Sustainability Officer at Mondelez International, explained that although plastic is crucial for the safety, quality, protection, and preservation of food goods, sustainable local recycling alternatives are lacking.

“Our packaging strategy is focused on using better packaging and helping to build better systems,” said McGrath. 

She added, “This investment brings together multiple stakeholders in the supply chain to scale the infrastructure and technology needed to help create a more sustainable future for plastics and is part of our longer-term focus on working toward our goal of net-zero packaging waste by supporting circular economies.”

Mike Cash, President of Amcor Flexibles Asia Pacific, stated that Amcor will be able to address rising customer demand for recycled material in the region with this investment and move one step closer to meeting the goal of 30 per cent recycled content across Amcor’s portfolio by 2030.