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Visy’s $500m bottle facility growing the Gold Coast’s green economy

Yatala

Nick Nichols | June 9, 2022

The Gold Coast has snared a significant share of a $2 billion investment planned Australia-wide by packaging and recycling giant Visy Group with plans to build a $500 million state-of-the-art bottle-making facility in the city’s northern industrial heartland.

The move will bolster Visy’s existing presence on the Gold Coast, where the world’s largest privately owned recycling and packaging company first established cardboard and can manufacturing facilities at Stapylton, within the Yatala Enterprise Area.

The company, which located its base in the city’s north more than a decade ago with the support of the City of Gold Coast investment attraction program, is expected to contribute to the growth of the Coast’s green economy with the proposed glass manufacturing facility absorbing a significant amount of recycled glass in the production process.

Visy’s latest plans are part of a $700 million investment planned for Queensland which includes a $150 million expansion of the company’s corrugated box factory at Hemmant in Brisbane.

The new glass recycling facility at Stapylton will replace Visy’s glass plant located on the riverfront at South Brisbane which will be transformed by the Queensland Government into an international media centre for the 2032 Olympics.

“This is the largest investment Visy has ever made in Queensland and is part of my pledge to invest $2 billion in Australia over the decade,” says Visy’s executive chairman Anthony Pratt.

The pledge made in 2021 is aimed at improving recycling and clean energy infrastructure in Australia to create what Visy expects will involve ‘thousands of new green-collar well-paying Australian manufacturing jobs’.

The Gold Coast recycling plant, which is expected to be operational by 2025, will be a key asset for the Visy group, a global leader in the packaging, paper and resource recovery industries. The facility is primed to assist Visy in achieving its goals of lifting the recycled content of its glass packaging to 70 per cent and using energy-efficient manufacturing technology.

The plant will produce about one billion glass containers a year, which represents a third of the total beverage containers that Queenslanders consume every year. The operation will complement existing Visy glass plants in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Auckland. It also adds to the 1.6 billion aluminium beverage cans and 600 million steel food cans Visy already produces annually at its existing Stapylton facilities.

Visy has become the largest manufacturer of glass bottles and jars in Australia and New Zealand after expanding its footprint in beer bottle manufacturing through a near-$1 billion acquisition of the domestic glass manufacturing businesses of US-based Owens Illinois.

The Gold Coast economy is expected to benefit from a share of more than 900 jobs during construction phase of Visy’s planned $700 million Queensland investment and 300 ongoing ‘green collar’ jobs once the Stapylton facility and the expanded operations in Brisbane become fully operational. Construction of the new Gold Coast facility alone is expected to create 600 jobs.

The new plant will blend virgin resources with recycled glass collected through the Queensland Government’s Containers for Change initiative to create new bottles that will largely service food and beverage producers across the state.

Mr Pratt sees recycling as a key industry in the battle against climate change as it reduces landfill and subsequently methane gas emissions which are said to be up to 84 times more harmful than carbon dioxide.

“Recycling is an important weapon against climate change and the Queensland Government is to be congratulated for its support for practical environmental measures, like recycling, that all Queenslanders can participate in,” he says.

Visy is among a host of major corporations, including Carlton & United Breweries, Caterpillar and Real Pet Food Company, located within the Yatala Enterprise Area. Known as the Gold Coast’s industrial engine room, the area comprises 3,300 hectares and its forecast growth is expected to support 20,000 jobs over the next five years.

 

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