A new partnership between regional metal can manufacturer Jamestrong and the UNSW SMaRT Centre is developing a project they hope will revolutionise aluminium manufacturing and recycling in Australia.
The partnership will establish Jamestrong as the one of the first in the world to not only make aerosol cans from recycled content, but from waste currently not recycled because it contains mixed materials including plastics.
Funded by Jamestrong and UNSW under the federal government sponsored Trailblazer for Recycling and Clean Energy (TRaCE) programme, the partnership will commercialise UNSW SMaRT Centre’s advanced MICROfactorie recycling technology into Jamestrong’s processes at its plant in Taree, New South Wales.
Jamestrong CEO Alex Commins said the project would create a more sustainable future for Jamestrong and its customers.
Commins said: “We are advancing our aluminium casting line capabilities in the existing footprint of our plant in Taree, which will reshore the manufacture process of aluminium slugs that we currently import from Thailand.
“The UNSW SMaRT Centre partnership will mean recycled aluminium will be introduced into Jamestrong’s aerosol can production process, and the slugs produced on the new casting line will be used in the plant’s extrusion process to manufacture more than 100 million aerosol cans per year.”
Director of the UNSW SMaRT Centre Professor Veena Sahajwalla said the MICROfactorie technology was able to recover aluminium from a range of mixed waste feedstocks including waste packaging.
Professor Sahajwalla said: “The innovative recovery of the recycled aluminium will be incorporated directly into the manufacturing process producing slugs, with varying degrees of recycled content available depending on production requirements.
“Every atom of aluminium that exists in our society, whether in multi-layered form or any other format, can actually be regenerated and brought back to life over and over again, and that’s what we’re doing with Jamestrong right here in Taree.”
Jamestrong will employ an additional 15 FTE in operation, adding to 85 employed today.
It is envisioned that the initial phase of creating a new $8 million aluminium casting line will be completed by about the middle of 2024.