Victoria’s largest 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 has the capability to recycle the equivalent of up to one billion 600ml PET plastic beverage bottles a year into high-quality, food-grade resin, which is then used to make new recycled PET beverage bottles and food packaging such as meat trays and fruit punnets.

PET is a joint venture between Pact Group, Cleanaway Waste Management, Asahi Beverages, and Coca-Cola Europacific Partners (CCEP) and was formed to accelerate the local plastic circular economy.

Amanda Sellers, CEO of Asahi Beverages, said it 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.”

The facility is the biggest of its kind in Victoria and is equipped with state-of-the-art equipment capable of producing 2.5 tonnes of recycled PET resin per hour, and at full production, the facility will employ about 45 people for its 24/7 operations and supported around 60 full-time jobs during its construction.

Orlando Rodriguez, Managing Director at CCEP, said 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. Seven out of 10 of our PET bottles are now made from 100 per cent recycled plastic (excluding caps and labels).”

This is the second PET recycling facility now operational in Australia, with the first, in Albury NSW, commencing operations in March 2022.

Pact managed the build and now operates the two recycling facilities. Cleanaway provides used PET plastic to be recycled through its collection and sorting network. Asahi Beverages and CCEP use the recycled resin from the joint venture to make new 100 per cent recycled PET beverage bottles (excluding caps and labels) while Pact manufactures recycled food and beverage packaging for its customers.

Sanjay Dayal, Managing Director and CEO of Pact, said Pact is proud to be part of a sustainable solution where it is 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.”

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