Pact and Cleanaway to recycle food grade plastics

Packaging group Pact Group and waste processing company Cleanaway today announced they would build Australia’s largest post-consumer polyethylene recycling plant converting locally collected kerbside materials into high quality food grade rHDPE and rPP resin.

The $38 million project to be constructed at Laverton, Victoria will accelerate the inclusion of locally processed recycled resin into food, dairy and other packaging, enabling manufacturers and retailers to deliver on their sustainability objectives, according to the companies.

Many brand owners have committed to reduce their reliance on virgin plastic by 2025.

The joint venture, to be known as Circular Plastics Australia (PE), will process more than 20,000 tonnes or the equivalent of over 500,000 plastic milk bottles and food tubs collected from household recycling bins into food grade resins and will be located at an existing Cleanaway recycling facility.

Pact CEO Sanjay Dayal said: “This new recycling facility highlights the progress we are making in expanding our reuse and recycling capability, a core component of our growth strategy.

“At Pact, we are committed to leading the way in creating a strong, local circular economy that diverts waste materials from landfill and uses them to deliver sustainably manufactured products, including recycled packaging solutions that are increasingly in demand.”

The PE joint venture between Pact and Cleanaway complements their existing PET joint venture with Asahi, with construction of the country’s largest PET recycling facility in Albury well underway and ahead of schedule for commissioning later this year.

Cleanaway COO Brendan Gill said: “This 20,000-tonne plastic pelletising facility is a huge win for the environment by creating a high value, recycled raw material from plastics we collect and sort through our network.

“This venture makes it possible to turn a milk bottle back into a milk bottle..”

The new Laverton facility comes as a series of rolling export bans will hit recycled plastics from later this year. Most of Australia’s waste is sent offshore prior to export bans.

Construction of the plant will start towards the end of the year and it is expected to be fully operational by December 2022.

The project is being supported by the Victorian Government through its Recycling Victoria Infrastructure Fund and the Australian Government through its Recycling Modernisation Fund.

Food producer Bulla CEO, Alan Hood said the plant would provide much needed local processing infrastructure to provide brands with food grade rHDPE.

Hood said: “We know that our consumers care deeply about the environment and as one of Australia’s largest privately owned dairy companies, we are delighted to be able to offer recycled content in our packaging and make another important step towards achieving our 2025 APCO targets”.

Other manufacturers committing to the project include Brownes Dairy, Grove Juice, and Unilever ANZ.

Picture: Pact Group

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