Advanced recycling in Australia gets a boost from packaging value chain leaders

August 10, 2023 | 3 mins read

Amcor and Mondelēz International have signed investment agreements to help Licella progress construction of its Cat-HTR advanced plastic recycling facility in Australia.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – August 10, 2023

Leaders in the packaging supply chain have today joined forces to further advance a circular economy for plastic packaging in Australia. Amcor, a global leader in developing and producing responsible packaging solutions and Mondelēz International, the company with iconic snack brands Cadbury, The Natural Confectionery Company, Pascall and others, have come together to invest in advanced recycling technology pioneers Licella, in an important step towards ending plastic waste.

With the aim of working towards net-zero packaging waste, Amcor and Mondelēz International have signed investment agreements to help Licella progress construction of one of the first advanced recycling facilities in Australia. Licella will use its innovative, Australian-developed Catalytic Hydrothermal Reactor (Cat-HTR) technology, which will recycle end-of-life plastic back into a crude oil substitute suitable to produce new food-grade plastic packaging.

Cat-HTR is an advanced hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL) technology, which uses hot, pressurised water to continuously recycle end-of-life plastic that would otherwise be sent to landfill. The new facility in Melbourne, called Advanced Recycling Victoria (ARV), will initially process ~20,000 tonnes per annum of end-of-life plastic, with plans to scale up to 120,000 tonnes per annum. Through Amcor, Mondelēz International will have access to recycled content from this site to meet much of its Australian soft plastic packaging needs, significantly reducing its need for virgin plastic in Australia.

CEO of Licella, Dr Len Humphreys, says it’s this kind of leadership from industry that’s needed to help bring Australia closer to more sustainable plastic waste solutions that deliver both economic and environmental benefits.

“The investment from Mondelēz International and Amcor ANZ has come at a crucial time in the progression of the ARV project and will help advance us to the next stage of viability, moving towards construction of this Australian first advanced recycling facility.”

“This is the leading technology of its kind globally and this project will be a key lever for companies to deliver on the national sustainable packaging targets as demand for sustainable plastic solutions grows here and overseas,” Humphreys said.

Mike Cash, President of Amcor Flexibles Asia Pacific, added, “Amcor will be able to meet increasing customer demand for recycled content in the region with this investment, as well as take another step closer to achieving our target of 30% recycled content across Amcor’s portfolio by 2030.”

“We’re excited to be joining forces with Licella and Mondelēz to enable the local production of innovative packaging made from local end-of-life plastic. By partnering with key leaders across the value chain, we can help strengthen recycling systems and advance circular solutions that reduce packaging waste well into the future.”

Customers and consumers are increasingly looking to their favourite brands to offer sustainably packaged solutions but it’s also the right thing to do.

According to Darren O’Brien, President – Mondelēz Australia, New Zealand and Japan, “We’re committed to taking the lead and responding to our consumers who we know want their soft plastic wrappers to be recycled again and again. We set new ground when we sourced the equivalent of 30 per cent recycled content for our Cadbury family blocks but our ambitions are much greater than this.”

“We’re on a mission to becoming the most sustainable snacking company in Australia and New Zealand and by collaborating with peers and investing in better systems at scale, we’re making our business more resilient, while creating long-term value for the country and world at large,” he said.

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