By Luke Voogt
A Moolap recycling plant is set to process an extra 8000 tonnes of plastic each year in a joint government-commercial expansion.
Federal and state governments today announced a $3 million investment to expand the plant, with its owner GT Recycling contributing another $1.7 million.
The new technology includes shredding, washing, polymer separation and extrusion equipment to create primary low-density polyethylene film and polypropylene flexible packaging for the Australian market.
Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley said the expansion would help extract value from almost 188,000 tonnes of plastic that Australia previously shipped overseas annually prior to the Commonwealth’s ban on exporting waste.
“We have placed waste firmly on the national agenda through our Recycling Modernisation Fund and through our historic export bans on waste plastic, glass and tyres,” she said.
“Our export ban on mixed plastic waste started in July this year, with the ban on unprocessed single polymer plastics starting in July 2022.”
Victorian Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio said the investment would enable GT Recycling to install “world-leading technology” to recycle discarded agricultural plastic including plant pots, shade cloths and tarps.
The federal component of the funding came from the $190 million Recycling Modernisation Fund, which the Commonwealth expects will create 10,000 jobs over 10 years.
“Getting the most advanced, clean and innovative technologies in place is critical to making sure Australia is a world-leader in recycling and in ensuring our waste is part of a truly circular economy,” Victorian senator Sarah Henderson said.
State government contributed to the expansion through its $515 million investment to transform the waste and recycling in Victoria.
Member for Western Victoria Gayle Tierney said the expansion would be a game-changer for Geelong’s recycling industry that would boost jobs in the region and inspire sustainable business practices.
“Investment in this project will not only help Victoria become a greener state,” she said.
“By processing plastics locally, we’ll also create local jobs and contribute to a strong regional economy.”
Geelong MP Christine Couzens praised GT Recycling’s work and said the funding would help position the company as a leading innovator in Victoria.
“I am excited to see world-leading technology at work right here in Geelong, helping to reduce waste and prevent harmful plastics and other materials from ending up in our beautiful environment.”