A proposed recycling facility that could process 1 billion PET plastic bottles per year is one step closer to becoming a reality after industry leaders agree to join forces.
Pact Group, Cleanaway, Asahi Beverages and Coca-Cola Europacific Partners (CCEP) recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to form a joint venture that will build and operate a new PET recycling facility. The MOU outlines the group's commitment to developing an industry model for PET recycling in Australia. This will include the new plant as well as another PET recycling facility being built by Pact Group, Cleanaway and Asahi Beverages in Albury-Wodonga that will be complete later this year.
The proposed facility will use cutting-edge sorting, washing, decontamination and extrusion technology to process the equivalent of around 1 billion bottles each year to produce over 20,000 tonnes of new recycled PET bottles and food packaging.
"This new joint venture will deliver a collaborative cross-industry solution to recycle the material that we use to produce our products," Peter West, CCEP Vice President and General Manager Australia, Pacific and Indonesia, said in a statement.
"Together we can work towards creating a circular economy for PET within the beverages industry, ensuring that we are using more locally processed recycled content for the production of our bottles in Australia."
The project is an excellent example of the collaboration required to bring circular solutions to life, with companies that would usually be competitors in this space coming together to keep valuable materials in circulation.
Each organisation will play an important role in the operation of the proposed facility. Cleanaway will provide available PET through its collection and sorting network, Pact will provide technical and packaging expertise and CCEP, Asahi Beverages and Pact will buy the recycled PET from the facility to use in their respective products. The plant, when fully operational, will also be run by Pact.
"This will be a ground-breaking project that will massively boost PET recycling capacity. It will help transform recycling in Australia by providing a new, local source of high-quality recycled PET," Asahi Beverages Group CEO, Robert Iervasi, said.
The location of the plant is still being determined with construction expected to be completed by 2023.