• Cleanaway CEO Mr Vik Bansal, Pact CEO Mr Sanjay Dayal and Asahi Beverage's Group CEO Mr Robert Iervasi.
    Cleanaway CEO Mr Vik Bansal, Pact CEO Mr Sanjay Dayal and Asahi Beverage's Group CEO Mr Robert Iervasi.
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A joint venture between Asahi Beverages, Pact Group and Cleanaway Waste Management will build a $45 million recycling plant in Albury/Wodonga, the companies announced. It will trade as Circular Plastics Australia (PET).

Its major environmental benefits will be a reduced reliance on virgin plastic, less plastic waste sent overseas and less recycled plastic imported.

It is anticipated the facility will recycle the equivalent of around 1 billion 600ml PET plastic bottles each year, which will be used as a raw material to produce new bottles plus food and beverage packaging in Australia to help close the loop on recycling.

According to Pact Group this will see the amount of locally sourced and recycled PET produced in Australia increase by two thirds, from around 30,000 tonnes to more than 50,000 tonnes a year.

The plant will draw on the expertise of each member of the joint venture. Cleanaway will provide the plastic to be recycled through its collection and sorting network, Pact will provide technical and packaging expertise while Asahi Beverages and Pact will buy the recycled plastic from the facility to use in their packaging.

The project was supported with nearly $5 million from the Environmental Trust as part of the NSW Government’s Waste Less, Recycle More initiative funded from the waste levy. The project was also made possible through the support of the Department of Regional NSW.

Asahi Beverage Group CEO Robert Iervasi said the company was pleased to be expanding its presence in the regional community, building on its existing beverage manufacturing plant in Albury.

Iervasi said: “We’ve listened to our consumers and are committed to delivering them more recycled bottles. We are very pleased to be contributing to the creation of a truly circular economy and can’t wait to get this project started.”

The build will create dozens of direct jobs, with construction due to begin towards the end of this year. It is expected to be fully operational by December 2021.

Cleanaway CEO and managing director Vik Bansal said: “This partnership will create valuable raw materials from the recyclables we collect and sort to help make a sustainable future possible. Being the joint operator with TOMRA of the NSW Container Deposit Scheme has provided Cleanaway with confidence in the market to invest in this facility. This is a natural extension of our value chain and expands our footprint of prized assets.”

Brooke Donnelly, CEO of the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation, commented: "A huge congratulations to Pact Group, Asahi Beverages and Cleanaway on reaching this important milestone for the project. This new partnership is a real testament to the powerful impact of collaboration. By bringing together key roles within the plastic packaging supply chain, the partnership will ensure more PET plastic is collected, recycled and used again in future packaging - all the while reducing the strain on virgin materials and boosting a local economy with more jobs and greater opportunities. This industry-led, decisive leadership is fundamental to ensuring the successful delivery of Australia's 2025 National Packaging Targets.

Pact Group managing director and CEO Sanjay Dayal said: “We are delighted to have formed this partnership. We would like to thank the NSW Government for their support enabling the acceleration of investment in local processing capacity.

“The arrangement is clearly aligned with our vision to lead the circular economy and will support Pact in achieving its 2025 sustainability promise to offer 30 per cent recycled content across our packaging portfolio.”

For Brooke Donnelly, CEO of the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation, the partnership is testament to the powerful impact of collaboration.

Donnelly said: “A huge congratulations to Pact Group, Asahi Beverages and Cleanaway on reaching this important milestone for the project. By bringing together key roles within the plastic packaging supply chain, the partnership will ensure more PET plastic is collected, recycled and used again in future packaging – all the while reducing the strain on virgin materials and boosting a local economy with more jobs and greater opportunities.

“This industry-led, decisive leadership is fundamental to ensuring the successful delivery of Australia's 2025 National Packaging Targets.”

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