Building to start on PET recycling plant in Victoria

January 18, 2022
By Ioni Doherty

The joint venture of Pact Group, Cleanaway, Asahi Beverages and Coca-Cola Europacific Partners (CCEP) is set to commence construction on a second PET plastic recycling plant which will be built in Altona North.

When completed in 2023, the $50 million facility will be the largest of its kind in Victoria. The plant will be built in an industrial precinct on Horsburgh Drive with construction to commence in the coming months.

Stakeholders expect the project to create more than 100 local jobs during the construction phase and 45 permanent roles once complete.

Federal Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley and Victorian Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio announced $6 million dollars towards the project from a total pool of $36.5 million in joint funding for projects under the Australian Government’s Recycling Modernisation Fund (RMF) and the Victorian Government’s Recycling Victoria Infrastructure Fund.

The joint venture have already completed construtction on a PET plastic recycling plant in Albury-Wodonga which will be fully operational next month.

Each facility will be capable of processing the equivalent of around 1 billion plastic bottles – collected via Container Deposit Schemes and kerbside recycling – each year. This will be converted into more than 20,000 tonnes of high-quality recycled PET bottles and food packaging by each facility, which will use state-of-the-art sorting, washing, decontamination and extrusion technology.

While competitors in the beverage market, CCEP and Asahi Beverages have joined with Pact and Cleanaway to form this joint venture to deliver a substantial increase in the amount of PET plastic recycled and reused in Australia.

Robert Iervasi, Asahi Beverages Group CEO, said: “We are constructing this facility to help create a truly circular economy in Victoria and beyond. Our consumers can now have increased confidence that when they dispose of their plastic water or soft drink bottle, it will be recycled instead of going to landfill. It’s not every day that drinks companies announce they’re building a new recycling plant but we want to help create meaningful change.”

The cross-industry joint venture draws on the expertise of each member. Cleanaway will provide PET through its collection and sorting network, Pact will provide technical and packaging expertise and Asahi Beverages, CCEP and Pact will buy the recycled PET from the facility to use in their products.

Peter West, CCEP Vice President and General Manager Australia, Pacific and Indonesia, said: “We are proud of CCEP’s continued investment in Australia’s circular economy. Our vision is for our bottles to be part of a closed loop where they are used, collected and given another life. This plant will work to complete this loop, lessen the national rPET shortage and create new jobs for Victorian workers. It is truly an exciting milestone in our sustainability ambitions.”

Minister Ley said the Morrison Government’s $190 million contribution to the RMF was facilitating unprecedented investment in recycling infrastructure, with the combined Commonwealth, state, territory and industry co-investment model on track to reach around $800 million.

“The co-investment model is exceeding all expectations and showing that materials can be recycled and remanufactured to create new products and new jobs while helping our environment,” Ms Ley said.

Victorian Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, Lily D’Ambrosio said the joint venture will receive $6 million towards its new PET recycling facility and support Victoria’s goal of diverting 80 per cent of waste sent to landfill by 2030, “improving our circular economy and tackling climate change”.

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