Media ReleaseNo Plastic Waste01 Jul 2022

Minderoo Foundation and Amcor launch partnership to ensure market certainty for plastic waste

The project aims to accelerate the creation of a circular plastic economy.

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Minderoo Foundation has today joined forces with Amcor, a global leader in developing and producing responsible packaging solutions, to launch a project to address the global crisis from plastic waste.

The partnership — called Sea the Future, pioneered by Minderoo (STF) — will unlock investment to build a global network of plastic recycling plants. The first three hubs will be built in Indonesia, the Netherlands and Brazil. STF intends to begin construction of the first sorting and recycling plants within two years.

The project, which is a world-first, is backed by the government of Indonesia and the port of Rotterdam — the world’s largest seaport outside east Asia. It is designed to close the gap between ambitions for using recycled plastics and the actual supply of high-quality recycled plastics in large volumes. STF aims to demonstrate that with the right level of investment and collaboration across the value chain, the cost of recycled plastic as a material can be reduced.

The limited supply of high-grade recycled plastic — linked in part to the lack of large-scale commercial facilities designed to process waste – has proved a key stumbling block in developing a circular plastic economy. A consortium that enables market certainty will accelerate investment in recycling centres across the globe and provide a market mechanism that attracts increased investment in collecting and sorting plastic waste.

The first three recycling hubs, which will use waste as a feedstock, aim to:

  • unlock an estimated $300m worth of investment in new plastic recycling plants worldwide
  • produce 150,000 tonnes of recycled plastic per year
  • prevent the incineration, landfilling and littering of 200,000 tonnes of plastic waste

Tony Worby, Director of Minderoo Foundation’s Planet portfolio, said: “We need the world to treat plastic like other commodities. Industry, fully supported by governments and regulators, is the only sector that can drive the urgent, global shift needed to save our oceans.”

“This existential threat requires a global solution able to transcend borders, politics and corporate responsibility. Minderoo studies suggest that we have less than five years to make this happen. Only a broadly adopted, international industry-led approach will keep plastics in the economy and out of the environment. We seek other founding partners from both the consumer goods and petrochemical industries to join this crucial initiative.”

Peter Konieczny, Chief Commercial Officer, Amcor, said: “We are committed to solutions that will increase the collecting and recycling of packaging material, which reduce the need for virgin resin while keeping waste out of the environment. We work with multiple partners across the value chain and are excited to be a part of this significant project with Minderoo. We now purchase 86 per cent more recycled content than two years ago, and we look forward to this partnership helping us further accelerate our delivery of responsible packaging solutions for customers.”

Amcor has agreed to sign offtake agreements which will secure the commercial future of the recycling centres currently being designed. Other facilities in new countries are expected to follow.

The STF initiative aims to drive systemic change across the entire global supply chain, turning waste into a commodity to turbocharge collection efforts, particularly in south-east Asia, where the plastic waste problem is especially acute.

It will unite leading global brands with suppliers to incentivise and catalyse investment in plastics recycling and the manufacturing of products from recycled plastics that are currently made from virgin resin.

Investors have often linked the slow rate of progress in recycling to the low price of virgin resin made from fossil fuels and the lack of demand for higher-priced recycled plastics. STF eliminates these barriers by aggregating demand and securing long-term offtake of demand and feedstock.

STF partners will accelerate global projects by purchasing recycled plastic from the new recycling facilities, aggregating demand. STF is currently commissioning global front-end engineering and design (FEED) studies at select locations across the globe to identify signature projects that collect, sort and manufacture recycled plastic resin from waste for use by converters.

Amcor and Minderoo Foundation are now welcoming additional members to the partnership, offering companies from both the consumer goods and petrochemical industries the chance to join as founding members over the coming months.

Minderoo Foundation
by Minderoo Foundation

Established by Andrew and Nicola Forrest in 2001, we are a modern philanthropic organisation seeking to break down barriers, innovate and drive positive, lasting change. Minderoo Foundation is proudly Australian, with key initiatives spanning from ocean research and ending slavery, to collaboration in cancer and community projects.

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