Thursday, May 19, 2022

PET recycling plant opens in Albury-Wodonga

The largest PET recycling plant in the country is now up and running.

It’s expected that the $45 million plant in Albury-Wodonga will “substantially reduce” Australia’s plastic waste by recycling the equivalent of around 1 billion PET beverage bottles each year.

The “world-class” facility is a joint venture partnership between Pact Group, Cleanaway Waste Management, Asahi Beverages, and Coca-Cola Europacific Partners (CCEP). While competitors in the beverage market, CCEP and Asahi Beverages have come together for this joint venture to deliver an increase in the volume of PET plastics recycled in Australia.

During its construction and installation, the plant supported around 225 jobs. It will employ around 40 people, mostly Albury-Wodonga locals, for its 24/7 operations.

It’s claimed that around 30,000 tonnes of PET will be recycled each year. This will become recycled raw material to produce new beverage bottles plus other food and beverage packaging in Australia.

Solar energy will be used to power part of the facility. A water treatment unit and rainwater tanks will reuse and recycle as much water on site as possible.

Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley says that as Australia works internationally and domestically to reduce plastic waste it’s wonderful to see practical action and commitment coming to fruition in Albury today.

“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,” she says.

Backed by the partnership

Pact Managing Director and CEO Sanjay Dayal says the opening of this state-of-the-art facility in Albury-Wodonga 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,” he says. “Pact Group will continue to work with industry partners and governments to build a strong, local circular economy.”

Cleanaway Chief Financial Officer Paul Binfield says this bottle-to-bottle plastic recycling facility brings the circular economy on-shore to Australia giving everyone a chance to participate in making a sustainable future possible by recycling their bottles and buying beverages in recycled plastic packaging.

“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,” he says.

Asahi Beverages Group CEO Robert Iervasi says this recycling plant is a testament to the sustainability commitment of each organisation involved.

“It can’t be underestimated how significant this project will be – we are providing an industry-wide solution that will benefit all Australians,” he says.

“Asahi Beverages already has a large beverage manufacturing plant in Albury, and we are excited to expand our presence, helping create more local jobs and helping lead the acceleration of Australia’s circular economy.

“Our consumers told us they wanted more recycled bottles, and together we have worked out a way to do that that will make a real impact.”

CCEP Vice President and General Manager Australia, Pacific and Indonesia Peter West says 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,” he says. “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.”

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