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Victoria has just opened Australia's largest plastic recycling plant

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Victoria is making inroads to deal with its own plastic consumption (image via Sustainability Victoria).

A new $20 million, state-of-the-art plastics recycling plant has opened in Somerton, Victoria and will process mixed plastics collected from kerbside recycling.

Australia’s largest plastics recycling plant has opened in Victoria boasting a processing capability of 70,000 tonnes a year – equivalent to almost half of all plastics currently recovered across the state.

Advanced Circular Polymers’ $20 million state-of-the-art plastics recycling plant in Somerton was officially opened by the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, Lily D'Ambrosio, on 28th June. 

It marks a new era in recycling and will position Victoria as the hub of remanufacturing in Australia, creating new jobs and new enterprises. 

Previously, Australia relied heavily on China to process recovered plastics. This new advancement provides a local solution, right here in Victoria, to the challenges posed by China’s import restrictions imposed last year.

A worker strides the factory floor at Advanced Circular Polymers

The recycling plant, which has been part-funded by the Victorian Government, will transform large quantities of low-value contaminated mixed plastics from households into high-quality commodities that can go directly into the manufacture of new products. Plastic waste from commercial and industrial factories will also be recycled.

The Advanced Circular Polymers plant will lead the way in innovative technology and boost Victoria’s thriving circular economy, while creating 46 jobs.

Founder Harry Wang decided to take on the challenge of building the recycling plant three years ago, when he realised an Australian solution was needed for turning plastic waste into a resource. 

“Rather than plastic being collected, sent overseas, reprocessed then sent back to Australia, we saw an opportunity to close the loop and find a sustainable solution,” said Mr Wang.

The custom-designed plant features cutting edge technologies that sort and clean the plastic by polymer type and to specific customer requirements. The end result is a high-quality plastic flake that can be sold and made into more plastic products such as packaging or polyester yarn.

Mr Wang said:

“We are big supporters of reducing plastic pollution as a first step, but while there is still plastic to be recycled we should be doing our best to capture what we can. We should treat plastic like gold. It is a precious resource that can be used in production again and again.”

Plastics being processed on conveyor belts at Advanced Circular Polymers

The recycling plant will be powered by renewable energy produced from Goldwind Australia’s wind farm near Ballarat.

A $500,000 grant from Sustainability Victoria’s Resource Recovery Infrastructure Fund helped bring the project to life. These grants are strengthening Victoria’s recycling sector by investing in 47 infrastructure projects since 2017, adding more than two million tonnes of recycling capacity to the Victorian network and are projected to create over 400 jobs.

Alana Condon works in the Government Media and Events team, coordinating stakeholder strategy at Sustainability Victoria.

This article was originally published by Sustainability Victoria under the title 'Australia's largest recycling plant for plastics opens in Victoria'  and is republished with permission.

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Victoria has just opened Australia's largest plastic recycling plant

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