Australia’s largest PET recycling plant is up and running

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Australia’s largest PET recycling plant has been officially opened at the Nexus Precinct, 10km north of Albury-Wodonga’s CBD in NSW.

The world-class, state-of-the-art $45 million facility was opened by Federal Minister for the Environment, the Hon. Sussan Ley MP, NSW Minister for Environment and Heritage, the Hon. James Griffin MP, and the Mayor of Albury City, Cr Kylie King.

Around 30,000 tonnes of PET will be recycled at the site annually.  The plastic will be converted to raw material that will later be reused as material for manufacturing new beverage bottles plus other food and beverage packaging in Australia.

It is a joint venture partnership between Pact Group, Cleanaway Waste Management Ltd, Asahi Beverages and Coca-Cola Europacific Partners (CCEP) and it is set to reduce Australia’s plastic waste by recycling the equivalent of around 1 billion PET beverage bottles each year.

The plastic will be provided by Cleanaway.  Pact will operate the facility and provide technical and packaging expertise, while Asahi Beverages, CCEP and Pact will buy the recycled plastic from the facility to use in their packaging.

“Pact Group made a $500 million commitment at our first national plastic summit in 2020 and they, along with their JV partners Cleanaway, Asahi Beverages and Coca-Cola Europacific Partners, have made that a reality today. This demonstrates commitment to our national packaging targets when the supply chain and government work together,” said Federal Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley MP.

The NSW Government contributed $4.8 million to the facility, and another $495,000 for specialised equipment inside the plant through our $337 million Waste Less, Recycle More initiative.

According to Pact’s Managing Director and CEO, Sanjay Dayal, the new plant is a game changer for Australia’s plastic recycling industry.

“We are proud to be part of a sustainable solution to divert plastic waste from landfill and ensure we are recycling and manufacturing our drink bottles and food packaging here in Australia without the need to import plastic material from overseas. Pact Group will continue to work with industry partners and governments to build a strong, local circular economy,” he said.

The bottle-to-bottle plastic recycling facility brings the circular economy on-shore to Australia, according to Cleanaway’s CFO, Paul Binfield.

“Together with our partners, Cleanaway is working on a network of plastics recycling facilities integrated with our leading collection and sorting infrastructure to provide our customers with the most sustainable and circular solution for their plastic recycling,” Mr Binfield said.

During its construction and installation, the plant supported around 225 jobs and now employs 40 people for its 24/7 operations.

“CCEP is committed to playing a leading role in Australia’s circular economy. With our partners, we are working towards creating a closed loop for our bottles where they are used, collected and given another life,” said Coca-Cola Europacific Partners’ Vice President and General Manager Australia, Pacific and Indonesia, Peter West.

“This plant, and the future Victorian plant, will complete this loop, help to solve the national rPET shortage and create new jobs for Australian workers. It is a proud moment in our corporate history.”

Image credit: https://www.cocacolaep.com/au/news/2021/ccep-celebrates-official-opening-of-world-class-recycling-plant-in-albury-wodonga/