The Circular Plastics Australia facility is a massive boost for the Victorian circular economy. Delivering locally produced PET recovered through the West Zone network of refund points for the Victorian Container Deposit Scheme to the plant will close the loop on a product that was once considered a waste.”  James Dorney, CEO – TOMRA Cleanaway

Circular Plastics Australia Opens Victoria’s Biggest PET Plastic Bottle Recycling Plant in Melbourne!

The second Circular Plastics Australia (PET) recycling facility in Australia has now opened in Melbourne, becoming Victoria’s biggest PET plastic bottle recycling plant.

This new $50 million facility is capable of recycling the equivalent of up to one billion 600ml PET plastic bottles a year, and convert used beverage bottles into high-quality food-grade resin, which is then used to make new recycled PET beverage bottles and food packaging such as meat trays and fruit punnets.

The opening of this new plant coincides with the commencement of Victoria’s Container Depot Scheme, CDS Vic, and will play a key role in recycling PET bottles collected through the scheme as well as PET plastic packaging from household and office recycling bins.

TOMRA Cleanaway has been appointed to provide CDS Vic network operator services to 28 LGAs across the ‘West Zone’ of Victoria. James said of the news, “TOMRA Cleanaway’s appointment as a network operator in Zones 1 and 4 covering the majority of Western Victoria will provide the community with a world-class container deposit network. Zones 1 and 4 represent a population of over 2 million Victorians and an estimated half a billion eligible drink containers each year”. The PET recovered from this estimated half a billion eligible drink containers will be delivered to the new Circular Plastics Australia (PET) facility in Altona for local recycling.

By recycling plastic waste locally, the two Circular Plastics Australia (PET) plants, with the first similar sized plant opened in Albury NSW in March 2022, are helping to create a “closed loop” solution for plastic beverage bottles and reduce Australia’s reliance on virgin imported recycled resin.

Image from the official opening of the new Circular Plastics Australia recycling facility in Melbourne’s West. Photo from Circular Plastics Australia.

The world-class facility is the biggest of its kind in Victoria and equipped with state-of-the-art equipment capable of producing 2.5 tonnes of recycled PET resin per hour. Multiple infrared and optical sorted firstly separate out any non-PET material, such as bottle lids, labels, and metals. The PET bottles are then shredded, ground, and washed, before the flaked material goes through a two-stage heating and drying process. The washed flake finally undergoes an extrusion and purification process to produce the recycled PET resin certified to US FDA standards.

When fully operational, the plant will be able to produce around 20,000 tonnes of recycled PET resin each year, equivalent to the weight of two Eiffel Towers. At full production, the facility is expected to employ about 45 people for its 24/7 operations and support around 60 full time jobs during its construction.

Partnerships Closing the Plastic Loop

Circular Plastics Australia (PET) is a joint venture between Pact Group, Cleanaway Waste Management, Asahi Beverages, and Coca-Cola Europacific Partners (CCEP) and was formed to provide a bottle-to-bottle solution to help accelerate the local plastic circular economy.

Pact managed the build and now operates the two recycling facilities. Cleanaway provides used PET plastic to be recycled through its collection and sorting network, which includes the containers collected through the TOMRA Cleanaway West Zone network of refund points for CDS Vic. Asahi Beverages and CCEP use the recycled resin from the joint venture to make 100% recycled PET beverage bottles while Pact manufactures food and beverage packaging for its customers.

The CPA (PET) project in Altona North received $6 million in funding through the Australian Government’s Recycling Modernisation Fund and the Victorian Government’s Circular Economy – Recycling Modernisation Fund.

This article was originally shared by Circular Plastics AustraliaVictoria’s biggest PET plastic bottle recycling plant opens for business in Melbourne

Featured image shared by Inside Waste here CPA Altona – biggest MRF opens in Victoria – Inside Waste

For more information regarding how TOMRA Cleanaway is delivering world-class container deposit scheme network operations, read more here.

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