Australia will take a giant step into the circular economy in Albury today with the opening of the nation’s largest PET (polyethylene terephthalate) recycling plant, capable of processing one billion plastic bottles each year.

Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley said the plant represented a massive step forward in ensuring end to end recycling by using materials sourced and remanufactured in Australia.

“The Circular Plastics Australia joint venture between Pact Group Holdings Ltd, Cleanaway Waste Management Ltd, Asahi Beverages and Coca-Cola Europacific Partners was born out of our first ever national plastics summit, and it is wonderful to see it come to fruition in Albury today,” Minister Ley said.

“Up to 28,000 tonnes of PET plastic bottles will now be recycled and remade into new bottles and beverage packaging.

“This demonstrates commitment to our national packaging targets when the supply chain and government work together.

“Often the domestic manufacture of drink bottles has involved importing recycled plastic that has been recycled and processed overseas.

“This is a ‘bottle to bottle’ process that sees industry and government working together to help our environment and economy by fully remanufacturing on shore.”

NSW Deputy Premier Paul Toole said regional NSW was leading the way with this world-class facility.

“Establishing the country’s largest end-to-end PET recycling plant in Albury proves we’re serious about delivering jobs and investment in the regions,” Mr Toole said.

“On top of the huge environmental benefits from recycling an estimated 1 billion plastic bottles each year, it is supporting the local economy by providing more than 200 local jobs during construction and more than 40 local jobs during operation.”

NSW Environment Minister James Griffin said that the state is building momentum with government, industry and the community working together to find better ways to deal with waste and conserve our resources while reducing landfill and litter.

“The joint venture between Pact Group Holdings Ltd, Cleanaway Waste Management Ltd, Asahi Beverages and Coca Cola Euro Pacific Partners will provide ongoing benefits to the local economy,” Mr Griffin said.

“It is great to see NSW’s highly successful Return and Earn scheme providing the raw ingredients for this game-changing circular economy project, backed by a successful partnership between federal and state governments and private industry.”

Federal Assistant Minister for Waste Reduction and Environmental Management Trevor Evans said that the Australian and NSW governments are proud to have invested about $5.3 million in this facility.

“Working with industry, states and territories we are on track to drive a $1 billion investment in domestic recycling capacity through the Recycling Modernisation fund,” Mr Evans said.

“Through the NSW Government’s Remanufacture NSW grant program we were able to support the installation of specialised equipment to the production of high-quality recycled plastics suitable for use in food and beverage packaging by major Australian brand owners.”

Member for Albury Justin Clancy said: “This has been an exciting journey for the partners who together make up Circular Plastics Australia. Already well-established in Albury, by working together and utilising the statewide resources of the Return and Earn program, we are seeing an evolution towards a true, nation leading circular economy in action.

“Yes there will be jobs, yes there is private and public investment, but the environment is also a big winner out of this project. This is recycling made whole,” said Mr Clancy.

For further information on the Recycling Modernisation Fund link here – and for more information on the NSW grant programs please visit the Environmental Trust website.