A beverage carton recycling project, backed by SIG, has won a A$1.74 million (€1.09 million) grant from the Federal and New South Wales (NSW) Government.
The fund will be used in a A$5 million facility that will turn post-consumer beverage cartons and paper cups into high-performance building material.
The project is funded by the Australian Government's Recycling Modernisation Fund and the NSW Government's Waste Less, Recycle More initiative.
The project is expected to create confidence in recycled construction materials, similar to roads made from recycled glass, and enable more packaging to become 100% recyclable.
It is the first collaboration between SIG and Tetra Pak in Australia under the umbrella of the Global Recycling Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment (GRACE), and a joint initiative with saveBOARD and its supporters Freightways and Closed Loop.
'Full Circularity For Beverage Cartons'
SIG Combibloc Australia and New Zealand general manager, Adam Lipscomb, said, "Cartons are the premier sustainable choice for food and beverage packaging in Australia, and the announcement further strengthens our leadership position.
"This project is a key milestone towards achieving full circularity for beverage cartons in Australia, and we look forward to seeing it come to fruition."
The Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) described the initiative as a fantastic step forward for beverage cartons and brands and consumers using this type of packaging.
Brooke Donnelly, APCO CEO, said, "It is great to see this level of collaboration across the entire supply chain, addressing post-consumer materials by putting in place effective local end-market solutions.
"This is a prime example of the collective impact model in practice which will help establish a manufacturing capacity in Australia. Led by industry with the support of the government, APCO will continue to support this type of collaboration as we work to transition to a circular economy for packaging and meet the 2025 National Packaging Targets."
According to saveBOARD co-founder and chief executive Paul Charteris, making high-performance low-carbon building materials using 100% recycled materials from everyday waste is a game-changer that will transform the construction industry in Australia.
"It will enhance the construction industry's drive towards more sustainable construction practices," Charteris added.
The Recycling Process
The first Australian saveBOARD plant will reprocess liquid paperboard beverage containers, including both aluminium-lined aseptic packages and non-aluminium-lined containers collected through the container deposit scheme and coffee cups collected through the 'Simply Cups' recycling programme. It will also source material from document recycling company Shred-X.
The material will be used to manufacture high-performance, low-carbon building items by adding supplementary material from industrial processes.
The building materials can be used to substitute plasterboard, particleboard, and oriented strand board (OSB).
The saveBOARD process uses heat and compression to bond materials, eliminating the need for glues or other chemical additives, to produce a clean product with zero volatile organic compounds (VOCs), suitable for use in homes and commercial buildings.