Construction begins on Australia’s largest PET recycling plant

Construction is now underway on a recycling facility in Albury-Wodonga that will see the equivalent of one billion PET plastic bottles recycled each year.

Environment Minister and Federal Farrer Member Sussan Ley marked the official start of construction by turning the first sod on-site at the project, which is being delivered in a joint venture between Asahi Beverages, Pact Group Holdings and Cleanaway Waste Management.

“The 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.

The $45 million plant – in the Nexus Precinct 10 kilometres outside the Albury CBD in NSW – is set to be fully operational by October, two months earlier than expected owing to Albury Council approving the project ahead of schedule.

Raw plastic material recycled by the plant each year will be equivalent to one billion 600 millilitre PET plastic bottles, and will be used to produce more than 20,000 tonnes of new recycled PET bottles and food packaging, making it the largest end-to-end rPet plant in Australia.

According to Pact Group Managing Director and CEO Sanjay Dayal, the plant will increase the amount of locally sourced and recycled PET produced in Australia by two thirds – from around 30,000 tonnes currently to over 50,000 tonnes per annum.

“This project would not have been possible without increased demand for locally-processed recycled content from forward-thinking Australian companies who are keen to meet Australia’s 2025 National Packaging Targets,” he said.

Dayal added that Australians’ 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.

“Industry collaboration is critical to being able to build a local circular economy. We are excited to see our first venture together coming to life – and look forward to many more in the future,” he said.

The plant will reduce Australia’s reliance on virgin plastic and the amount of recycled plastic Australia imports. Solar energy will power part of the facility.

“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,” Cleanaway CEO and Managing Director Vik Bansal said.

“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.”

Asahi Beverage Group CEO Robert Iervasi added that Asahi Beverages is excited to be partnering with Pact and Cleanaway to create more jobs for the Albury-Wodonga 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,” he said.

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, Recycle More initiative funded from the waste levy, with the support of the Department of Regional NSW and the Federal Government’s Recycling Modernisation Fund.

The facility will trade as Circular Plastics Australia PET.

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