rPET News

Aug 12, 2022

Australian recycling boost: Coca-Cola, Asahi Beverages, Pact and Cleanaway partner on new rPET facility

Pact Group, Cleanaway, Asahi Beverages and Coca-Cola Europacific Partners (CCEP) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU), forming a joint venture to build and operate a new PET recycling facility in Australia.

17 Aug 2021 --- Pact Group, Cleanaway, Asahi Beverages and Coca-Cola Europacific Partners (CCEP) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU), forming a joint venture to build and operate a new PET recycling facility in Australia.

“This new joint venture will deliver a collaborative cross-industry solution to recycle the material that we use to produce our products,” explains Peter West, CCEP VP and general manager for Australia, Pacific and Indonesia.

“Together, we can work toward 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 MoU comes after the Australia National Plastic Plan 2021 set a recycled content target of 50 percent by 2025 for all packaging.

Specifically, Australia is targeting 20 percent recycled PET (rPET) by 2022, rising to 30 percent by 2025. Currently, the country achieves 14 percent recycled content for PET.

Pact’s Albury-Wodonga facility aims to process the equivalent of 1 billion bottles annually.

The Australia National Plastic Plan 2021 results from the country’s first National Plastics Summit held in March 2020. The summit brought together government, industry and community sectors to identify and exhibit new ideas and solutions to tackle plastic waste.

A highlight of the plan is shifting the industry toward higher-value, easily recyclable plastics such as PET, HDPE, LDPE and PP, and encouraging recycle-by-design packaging solutions.

Revving up rPET recycling
Under the MoU, Pact, Cleanaway, Asahi Beverages and CCEP intend to collectively provide an industry model for recycling solutions in Australia.

The model will include the new PET recycling facility and a PET recycling facility currently being built by Pact, Cleanaway and Asahi Beverages through Circular Plastics Australia in Albury-Wodonga, which is expected to be completed later this year.

The Albury-Wodonga facility is expected to provide a massive boost to Australian recycling by processing raw plastic material collected via container deposit schemes and kerbside recycling.

The facility aims to process the equivalent of around 1 billion bottles each year to produce over 20,000 metric tons of rPET bottles and food packaging, using state-of-the-art sorting, washing, decontamination and extrusion technology.

A cross-industry recycling model
The cross-industry solution combines the complementary expertise of each participant to enhance their individual environmental sustainability goals:

  • Cleanaway will provide available PET through its collection and sorting network.
  • Pact will provide technical and packaging expertise.
  • CCEP, Asahi Beverages and Pact will buy the rPET from the facility to use in their respective products.
  • The plant, when fully operational, will be run by Pact.

A decision on the plant’s location is anticipated in the coming months, and construction is expected to complete by 2023.

Competitors find common ground
CCEP and Asahi Beverages, while competitors in the beverage market, have partnered with Pact and Cleanaway to increase the production and availability of rPET resin in Australia for the purpose of this joint venture.

This new self-sustaining industry is expected to create a local plastics circular economy in Australia and dozens of new jobs during the construction phase and operation of the plant.

“This will be a ground-breaking project that will massively boost PET recycling capacity,” says Robert Iervasi, Asahi Beverages Group’s CEO.

“It will help transform recycling in Australia by providing a new, local source of high-quality rPET. The building of this large rPET plant along with the facility in Albury-Wodonga is a major step toward helping us deliver a truly circular economy for our consumers.”

Australia is targeting 20% rPET by 2022, rising to 30% by 2025.

Cleanaway COO’s Brendan Gill adds: “This project supports Cleanaway’s Footprint 2025 by ensuring we have the right infrastructure in place to create a domestic circular economy.”

“This PET plastic pelletizing 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 partnership shows the value of a solution that works for industry and consumers,” concludes Sanjay Dayal, Pact’s Group CEO and Managing Director.

“This is completely aligned to Pact’s strategy, which is to lead the local circular economy through reuse, recycling, and packaging solutions.”

The arrangements set out in MoU remain subject to the finalization of legally binding documents between the parties.

Australia combats plastic pollution
In related developments, the Australian government pledged to phase out some high-polluting single-use plastic items by 2025 in April in a move that drew praise from marine conservationists.

In May, Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands formed a plastic waste elimination pact called ANZPAC as part of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s global Plastics Pact Network.

Last year, the Australian government invested in a new Recycling Modernisation Fund to drive a billion-dollar transformation of the country’s waste and recycling capacity.

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