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Viva Energy and Cleanaway agree to assess waste recycling solution

Viva Energy and Cleanaway have joined forces to provide an innovative new waste recycling and transport process for soft plastics being sent to landfill

Waste company Cleanaway and Viva Energy have announced a new agreement to undertake a pre-feasibility assessment of a circular solution for soft plastics and other hard-to-recycle plastics currently sent to landfill.

The agreement will seek to transform the plastics back into feedstock for food-grade plastic resin.

The partners are aiming to provide a sustainable soft-plastics solution for food manufacturers and packaging specialists seeking to cater to the growing environmentally conscious market, as well as households and businesses who want a landfill-diversion option.

The facility being assessed would incorporate a dedicated sorting and mechanical pre-treatment plant and an advanced chemical recycling plant to convert waste plastic into plastic pyrolysis oil (PPO) – a feedstock for co-processing at Viva Energy’s Geelong Refinery.

Viva Energy says recycled plastic manufactured through this process would have identical properties to virgin resin, opening the potential for food manufacturers to use recycled packaging.

The project could provide an important solution for food manufacturers and packaging specialists to meet their obligations under the federal government’s new recycling regulatory scheme that is expected to be in place by the end of 2025.

This project follows Viva Energy’s announcement in May last year that it intends to introduce co-processing at its Geelong Refinery as part of its plans to transform the site into a broader energy hub. Co-processing will allow the refinery to demonstrate the important role it will play in plastic recycling while also reducing the facility’s carbon footprint.

Image: Viva Energy

For Cleanaway, pursuing this opportunity is part of its broader focus to provide low-carbon, high-circularity solutions that reduce the need for virgin resources and lift Australia’s recycling rates.

Viva Energy chief business development and sustainability officer Lachlan Pfeiffer says the project offers a significant advance in addressing Australia’s plastic waste issue.

“For Australia to have the ability to recycle its own plastic – a true circular economy – we need to have a facility like this to convert waste plastic to pyrolysis oil on a commercial scale,” Pfeiffer says.

“If feasible, over time it will support a market for plastic collection and processing while also providing the pyrolysis oil we need to allow the refinery to produce recycled food-grade plastic. It will be a true end-to-end solution for manufacturers.

“This strategic alliance forms an exciting foundation on which to pursue a circular solution for soft plastics. It brings together Cleanaway’s experience and strategic infrastructure in the waste collection and processing sector, with the processing capability of Viva Energy’s refinery and polypropylene plant.”

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