Pact Group announces $500M investment in plastics recovery

Pact Group, one of Australia’s largest rigid plastic product manufacturers, will invest $500 million into plastics recovery infrastructure, research and technology over the next five years.

Pact Group Non-Executive Chairman Raphael Geminder made the pledge at the first National Plastics Summit at Parliament House this week, following news the company plan to develop a plastic pelletising facility with Cleanaway and Asahi.

According to Mr Geminder, the company will partner with government and industry to invest in new facilities for sustainable packaging, reuse and recycling initiatives.

“Our stated vision is to include 30 per cent recycled content across our product portfolio by 2025. Across our business, this would be the equivalent of keeping nearly two billion plastic containers out of landfill,” Mr Geminder said.

“Just as importantly, we will be creating jobs for Australians in the circular economy – a new and growing sector where we believe Australia can lead the world.”

Environment Minister Sussan Ley said the commitment was encouraging, with industry leadership to reduce plastic waste, increase recycling and create jobs a critical outcome of the summit.

“Pact’s announcement at the National Plastics Summit follows announcements from major brands McDonald’s and Nestlé, with McDonald’s committing to phase out plastic cutlery by the end of 2020, removing 585 tonnes of plastic waste per annum,” Ms Ley said.

“This adds to McDonald’s previous commitment to phase out 500 million straws every year and takes the total annual plastic reduction to 860 tonnes.”

Furthermore, Nestlé will partner with waste management company IQ Renew on a soft plastics collection trial, to be tested at 100,000 homes.

“The recycling economy starts here, this is where we take what are now seen as problems and turn them into assets that create remanufactured products, which create jobs and which grow our economy,” Ms Ley said.

Additional commitments include $650,000 from PepsiCo to support Greening the Green, a program aimed at educating consumers on soft plastics, and Unilever announcing it will halve its use of virgin plastic in production and packaging by 2025.

The Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation announced it would lead the development of the ANZPAC Plastic Pact, a new program within the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Global Plastics Pact Network.

“ANZPAC will provide the significant intervention required to meet Australia’s national plastic packaging target – that 70 per cent of all plastic packaging will be recycled or composted by 2025,” Ms Ley said.

According to Assistant Waste Reduction Minister Trevor Evans, the summit was an important step in working with industry to drive long-term practical outcomes, such as increasing Australia’s recycling rates and domestic reprocessing capabilities.

“We are looking towards fundamentally changing the way we think about and manage our waste, and creating new markets for recycled products,” he said.

“This transformation towards a circular economy will both create jobs and help our environment.”

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Federal Government to host first national plastic summit

The Federal Government is set to host Australia’s first national plastic summit in 2020.

According to Environment Minister Sussan Ley, the summit will explore new remanufacturing methods in an effort to build a wider understanding about the importance of recycling strategies.

Ms Ley said approximately 200 leading retailers, industry representatives, state governments, local government associations, infrastructure companies and researchers will be invited to Canberra in early March to take part in the national summit.

“Delegates will be invited to showcase solutions, mobilise actions and address the National Waste Policy Action Plan target of phasing out problematic and unnecessary plastics over the next five years,” Ms Ley said.

“Consumer and community education will be a key focus, along with the role of school children and young adults in influencing household behaviour, and in highlighting the link between industry action and community interests.”

Ms Ley said the Federal Government will be looking for commitments from industry that will create jobs, research opportunities, education initiatives and practical community outcomes.

“The Federal Government is investing more than $167 million in our national Recycling Investment Plan, and all governments have taken a significant step agreeing to ban the export of unprocessed mixed plastic waste from 2021,” Ms Ley said.

“As we hit the peak plastic packaging time of the year, now is an opportunity for all Australians to consider the ways we can think about the plastic we use and, importantly recycle.”

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