New plastic recycling policy to boost economy

Targeted to be ready next year, it would be more specific to the industry; a concrete one on its own, says minister


THE Housing and Local Government Ministry will introduce a new plastic recycling policy, in a bid to improve plastic waste management which can help to boost the country’s economy.

Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin (picture) said the policy would be developed comprehensively and take inputs from the Malaysian Plastics Recycling Industry White Paper in order to provide guidelines and subsequently empower the local plastic industry.

“The plastic recycling industry worldwide is worth US$600 billion (RM2.52 trillion). I would want Malaysia to capitalise on this potential. I feel that this is a good opportunity for Malaysia, the new government and the economy to embrace the benefits and potential of the plastic industry.

“If the matter is handled with good care and perfectly through effective enforcement, it will be a very modern and advanced industry,” she told reporters after the launch of the white paper in Petaling Jaya (PJ) yesterday.

The white paper was produced by the Malaysian Plastics Manufacturers Association (MPMA) and Malaysian Plastic Recyclers Association in collaboration with Monash University Malaysia.

Zuraida added that the policy will not be integrated with the “Dasar Kebersihan Negara” as it has to be more detailed and comprehensive, including establishing plastic-related acts.

“From this white paper, we should develop something like ‘Dasar Plastik Kitar Semula’. However, we will have to study the terms so that people don’t get the wrong perception on the terms itself.

“There is a need to have such a policy which is clearer in terms of direction, mechanism and regulations, which we need to streamline together. “Targeted to be ready next year, we hope it would be more specific to the industry, a concrete one, on its own,” she said.

Meanwhile, MPMA VP CC Cheah noted that Malaysia needs an advanced and modern plastic recycling industry to be developed into a sustainable economy.

He said policies and practices to support viable recycling industries are crucial to strengthen Malaysia’s waste management system and prevent improperly disposed plastics from polluting the environment.

“Plastic recyclers could potentially grow their contributions to the Malaysian economy by three to four times, to an estimated RM15 billion to RM20 billion annually, with increased investments in better technology, infrastructure and upgraded capacity,” he said.

Citing the white paper, Chuah said the plastic recycling industry has already contributed RM4.5 billion to the economy.

It represents an opportunity for growth by converting waste to wealth and for catalysing the development of a circular economy.

“We alone cannot solve the issue of plastic pollution, but by working together with the plastic industry’s stakeholders, we can build an advanced plastic recycling industry to counter pollution and transition Malaysia to a circular economy.

“For this transition to happen while protecting the environment, Malaysia needs a feasible, effective and advanced waste management system.

“We must address the issue of human behaviour, and not demonise any particular material or industry,” he added.