Asahi Beverages, Pact Group Holdings and Cleanaway Waste Management have formed a joint venture to build a new AUD 45 million ($32.1 million approx.) recycling plant in Australia. It is anticipated that the facility will recycle the equivalent of around 1 billion 600ml PET plastic bottles each year, to be used as a raw material to produce food and beverage packaging. This will see the amount of locally sourced and recycled PET produced in the country increase from around 30,000 tonnes to over 50,000 tonnes per year, according to Pact Group. Construction of the plant, which will be located in Albury/Wodonga, is expected to start towards the end of the year, pending approval from Albury Council. The project is anticipated to create over 300 direct and indirect jobs over the course of the build. Once the plant is operational, Cleanaway will provide the plastic to be recycled through its collection and sorting network, and Pact will provide technical and packaging expertise. Meanwhile, Asahi Beverages and Pact will buy the recycled plastic from the facility to use in their packaging. The companies’ joint venture will reportedly trade as Circular Plastics Australia (PET). “This new partnership is a real testament to the powerful impact of collaboration,” said Brooke Donnelly, CEO of the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation. “By bringing together key roles within the plastic packaging supply chain, the partnership will ensure more PET plastic is collected, recycled and used again in future packaging – all the while reducing the strain on virgin materials and boosting a local economy with more jobs and greater opportunities.” The project was supported with nearly $5 million from the Environmental Trust as part of the New South Wales government’s ‘waste less, recycle more’ initiative funded from the waste levy. Sanjay Dayal, Pact’s managing director and CEO, said: “We are delighted to have formed this partnership. We would like to thank the New South Wales government for their support enabling the acceleration of investment in local processing capacity.” Asahi Beverages Group CEO, Robert Lervasi, added: “We already have our beverage manufacturing plant in Albury. We are delighted to expand our presence there and create more local jobs. We’ve listened to our consumers and are committed to delivering them more recycled bottles.