Waste management company Cleanaway has invested more than $1 million in its Laverton North material recovery facility (MRF) centre to increase its ability to recycle plastic.
Chief operating officer Brendan Gill said the investment, supported by $500,000 funding from Sustainability Victoria, included the purchase of new conveyors and optical sorting equipment.
Sensors on the sorting equipment will detect and remove the coloured PET (polyethylene terephthalate, a form of polyester) from mixed plastics as they move along the conveyer.
Mr Gill said the new equipment would allow the separation of plastics such as coloured PET bottles and plastic trays, which are often used for meat and fruit, from mixed residual plastic.
He said this would reduce the amount of plastic being sent to landfill.
“At Cleanaway we see all waste as a resource, so this investment supports our objective of creating a circular economy in which waste is reduced and materials are reused and recycled, rather than sent to landfill,” he said.
“Recovering, finding markets for, and selling, single polymers like coloured PET plastic not only creates value but is consistent with our mission of making a sustainable future possible.”
As the first national operator of a MRF to secure a licence to export single polymer plastics, Cleanaway will sell the green PET to processors offshore and in Australia.
Some of the clear PET from Laverton will be sent to the $45 million PET pelletising facility being built at Albury, New South Wales, to produce plastic resin for use in manufacturing new plastic containers.
The facility, a joint venture of Cleanaway and Pact Group Asahi Beverages, will become fully operational later this year.
Cleanaway and Pact also announced in July that Laverton North would become the site of a future $38 million plant to convert recycled High Density Poly Ethylene (HDPE) and Polypropylene (PP), such as milk bottles and food tubs, into resin for use in manufacturing food, dairy and other packaging.