Construction set to begin on $45M Albury recycling plant

A new recycling plant in Albury/Wodonga will increase the amount of recycled PET plastic produced in Australia each year from local waste.

The decision to build the facility was confirmed 3 August after Pact Group Holdings, Cleanaway Waste Management and Asahi Beverages formally entered a joint venture to deliver the project.

According to a joint statement, the project is expected to create over 300 direct and indirect jobs when construction begins.

Construction will start towards the end of the year, pending approval from Albury Council, with the facility expected to be fully operational by December 2021.

It is anticipated the facility will recycle the equivalent of one billion 600 millilitre PET plastic bottles each year.

“The bottles will be used as a raw material to produce new bottles plus food and beverage packaging in Australia to help close the loop on recycling,” the statement reads.

“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 over 50,000 tonnes per annum.”

Cleanaway CEO and Managing Director Vik Bansal said the partnership will create valuable raw materials from the recyclables Cleanaway collects and sorts.

“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,” he 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.”

The $45 million facility will be located at the Nexus Precinct, 10 kilometres north of Albury/Wodonga’s CBD in NSW, and will be among the first businesses located at the new industrial precinct.

The plant will draw on the expertise of each member of the joint venture, which will trade as Circular Plastics Australia (PET).

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.

According to Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation CEO Brooke Donnelly, the partnership is a 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.”

The project was supported with nearly $5 million 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.

Pact Group Managing Director and CEO Sanjay Dayal thanked the NSW Government for their support, and for enabling the acceleration of investment in local processing capacity.

“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,” he said.

Similarly, Asahi Beverage Group CEO Robert Iervasi thanked Environment Minister Matt Kean and Albury Council.

“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,” he said.

“We already have our beverage manufacturing plant in Albury. 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.”

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