Circular Plastics Australia gives PET bottles second life
We'll drink to that! Closing the loop with award-winning recycling solution
Cleanaway, Pact Group, Asahi Beverages and Coca-Cola Europacific Partners have joined forces to develop recycling facilities that create a closed loop recycling solution for plastic bottles. The first Circular Plastics Australia recycling facility in Albury, NSW, is aiming to process the equivalent of one billion plastic bottles a year.
The project shows decisive leadership and cooperation from major industry leaders, working together to find a higher order use for plastic in the waste hierarchy. We are particularly proud that the first Australian Recycling Investment Fund investment builds Australia’s capacity to generate high value recycled commodities that create an important revenue stream while also reducing carbon emissions.Ian LearmonthCEO, CEFC
The Circular Plastics Australia joint venture features an innovative structure in the recycling and resources recovery sector, drawing on the expertise of major industry leaders;
- Cleanaway sources and provides the feedstock plastics
- The facility processes the PET plastic into food-grade recycled pellets
- Pact Group manufactures new bottles
- Asahi Beverages and Coca-Cola Europacific Partners use the new recycled PET bottles for their products.
The joint venture is aimed at recycling billions of used polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic containers in Australia with ready end-market applications for the PET material.
The CEFC, in the first investment of its Australian Recycling Investment Fund, committed $16.5 million in debt finance towards the first Circular Plastics Australia recycling facility in Albury, New South Wales. The project also draws on $16.5 million in debt finance from the Commonwealth Bank of Australia.
The facility opened in December 2021 and commenced operations in February 2022. It has since won awards that recognise its sustainability achievements including:
- Australian Institute of Project Management Sustainable Project National Project Management Achievement Awards: March 2023
- Australian Institute of Project Management Sustainable Project Management Achievement Award for NSW: November 2022
- Australian Packaging and Processing Machinery Association Sustainability Excellence Award: May 2022.
The Circular Plastics Australia (CPA) PET recycling facility in Albury has the capacity to process the equivalent of one billion plastic bottles to produce more than 20,000 tonnes of new bottles and food packaging a year.
The facility is Australia’s largest PET recycling plant and only the second facility of its kind in Australia to process PET end-to-end into food-grade recycled materials. Rooftop solar is helping power the facility.
The state-of-the-art facility aims to make a significant contribution to the development of Australia's circular economy, by turning plastic waste into reusable materials.
A significant proportion of the plastic feedstock comes from the NSW container deposit scheme via Cleanaway’s Eastern Creek Container Sorting Facility. This is the circular economy in action, with full visibility of the journey that recovered materials take to be turned into new products.
Pact Group estimates the CPA plant at Albury will increase the amount of locally sourced and recycled PET produced in Australia by two thirds. It will also reduce Australia’s reliance on virgin plastic and the amount of recycled plastic Australia imports.
The Circular Plastics Australia joint venture is building a second PET plastic recycling facility in Melbourne’s west which is scheduled to be operational in 2023. Combined, the two sites will have the capacity to recycle the equivalent of around two billion PET beverage bottles annually.
Read our report
Energising resource recovery: the Australian opportunity
Australia’s recycling and resource recovery sector is undergoing considerable change. With this change comes opportunity – measured in economic, employment and emissions benefits. As explored in this report, the resource and energy recovery sectors could drive as much as $7.8 billion in new investment in Australia by the mid 2020s.Read more