Pact, Cleanaway announce $38m plastic recycling plant

New $38 million plastic recycling plant to reinvent recycling in Victoria.

Pact Group and Cleanaway have announced the creation of a new plastic recycling facility at Laverton, Victoria.

This facility will become Australia’s largest post-consumer polyethylene recycling plant converting locally collected kerbside materials into high quality food grade rHDPE and rPP resin.

This will facilitate the inclusion of locally processed recycled resin into food, dairy and other packaging, enabling brand owners and retailers to deliver on their sustainability objectives.

This state-of-the-art facility will process more than 20,000 tonnes or the equivalent of over 500 000 plastic milk bottles and food tubs collected from household recycling bins into food grade resins and will be located at Cleanaway’s recycling facility at Laverton.

This joint venture between Pact and Cleanaway complements the existing PET joint venture between Pact, Cleanaway and Asahi, with construction of the country’s largest PET recycling facility in Albury well underway and ahead of schedule for commissioning later this year.

The new Laverton facility will augment Australia’s local processing capacity for recycled plastics, which are subject to a series of rolling export bans from later this year.

Australia has lacked local onshore processing capacity to manage reprocessing of waste collected through kerbside collections, most of which was being sent offshore prior to export bans.

This facility will enable food and beverage manufacturers to include locally processed recycled content in their packaging providing a major benefit to the environment.

Many brand owners have committed to reduce their reliance on virgin plastic by 2025. Construction of the plant will start towards the end of the year and it is expected to be fully operational by December 2022.

The business will trade as Circular Plastics Australia (PE). Cleanaway will provide the recycled plastic through its collection and sorting network, and Pact will provide technical knowledge, operate the plant, and buy recycled plastic resin from the facility to use in their packaging with the balance sold to third parties.

This project is being supported by the Victorian Government through its Recycling Victoria Infrastructure Fund and the Australian Government through its Recycling Modernisation Fund.

Federal Minister for the Environment, Sussan Ley MP, said the project between Cleanaway and Pact, which is supported through our Recycling Modernisation Fund, will be critical in reaching two national waste targets – increasing the resource recovery rate to 80 per cent and seeing 50 per cent recycled content in packaging by 2030.

Victorian Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio, said the new facility will massively increase Victoria’s capacity to recycle plastics.

“It will mean more plastic material will be given a second life as new food grade packaging such as turning a milk bottle back into a milk bottle”.

Sanjay Dayal, managing director and CEO, Pact, said the new recycling facility highlights the progress we are making in expanding our reuse and recycling capability, a core component of our growth strategy.

“At Pact, we are committed to leading the way in creating a strong, local circular economy that diverts waste materials from landfill and uses them to deliver sustainably manufactured products, including recycled packaging solutions that are increasingly in demand.

“With this in mind, we are delighted to be able to lead the development of this new industry in Australia which will also create thousands of new jobs and support the national manufacturing industry.

“We are pleased with the progress that we have made with our customers in enabling them to meet the expectations from consumers for brands to prioritise the adoption of sustainable packaging. We look forward to working with many more brand owners and retailers to help them achieve their 2025 APCO targets”.

Brendan Gill, COO, Cleanaway, said the opportunities presented by the circular economy are endless.

“This 20,000-tonne plastic pelletising facility is a huge win for the environment by creating a high value, recycled raw material from plastics we collect and sort through our network. This venture makes it possible to turn a milk bottle back into a milk bottle.

“This will provide our Melbourne councils and commercial customers with a great outcome for their recycling initiatives and contributes to the development of a domestic circular economy. At Cleanaway our mission is to make a sustainable future possible and we see waste as a resource to achieve that.”

Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation CEO, Brooke Donnelly, said: “It’s fantastic to see continued leadership and decisive action from sustainability champions, Pact and Cleanaway as we work towards achieving the 2025 National Packaging Targets.”

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