Thursday, July 25, 2024

Victoria’s biggest PET plastic bottle recycling plant opens

A new $50 million PET plastic bottle recycling plant has opened in Melbourne, coinciding with the start of Victoria’s Container Deposit Scheme.

The Circular Plastics Australia (PET) plant is said to be capable of recycling the equivalent of up to one billion 600ml PET plastic beverage bottles a year into high-quality food-grade resin. This is then used to make new recycled PET beverage bottles and food packaging such as meat trays and fruit punnets.

The facility, a joint venture between Pact Group, Cleanaway Waste Management, Asahi Beverages, and Coca-Cola Europacific Partners (CCEP), is promoted as the biggest of its kind in Victoria. It’s equipped with “state-of-the-art” equipment claimed to be capable of producing 2.5 tonnes of recycled PET resin per hour. At full production, the facility is expected to employ about 45 people for its 24/7 operations and supported around 60 full time jobs during its construction.

This is the second Circular Plastics Australia (PET) recycling facility now operational in Australia, with the first, a similar sized plant in Albury NSW, commencing operations in March 2022.

A team effort 

Pact has managed the build and now operates the two recycling facilities.

Pact Managing Director and CEO Sanjay Dayal says Pact is proud to be part of a sustainable solution where it’s making, recycling and remaking plastic beverage bottles in Australia.

“Together, the two Circular Plastics Australia (PET) recycling facilities are able to process up to two billion plastic bottles a year which helps keep thousands of tonnes of plastic waste out of landfill,” he says.

Cleanaway provides used PET plastic to be recycled through its collection and sorting network, with Cleanaway CEO Mark Schubert commenting that the company is proud to be part of building Victoria’s circular economy.

Asahi Beverages and CCEP use the recycled resin from the joint venture to make new 100% recycled PET beverage bottles (excluding caps and labels) while Pact manufactures recycled food and beverage packaging for its customers.

Asahi Beverages’ newly appointed CEO Amanda Sellers says the plant is a big step towards creating a truly circular economy in Victoria.

“This plant helps ensure soft drink bottles collected via the Victorian CDS and recycling bins get another life as beverage bottles or food packaging,” she says.

CCEP Australia Managing Director Orlando Rodriguez says CCEP is determined to be a leader in Australia’s circular economy.

“Through this investment, alongside the introduction of Victoria’s CDS, we have made great strides in closing the loop on beverage packaging locally,” he says. “Seven out of 10 of our PET bottles are now made from 100% recycled plastic (excluding caps and labels).”

The new plant received $6 million in funding through the Australian government’s Recycling Modernisation Fund and the Victorian government’s Circular Economy – Recycling Modernisation Fund.

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