KUALA LUMPUR – Without the recycling sector, Malaysia will not be able to develop into a sustainable economy and create new value to benefit society and the environment, both the Malaysian Plastics Manufacturers Association and Malaysian Plastics Recyclers Association said.
In a joint statement today, both associations said it is crucial that Malaysia also invests in developing a circular economy to eliminate waste and pollution.
They said demonising the legal plastics recycling industry perpetuates misconceptions and distortions which hurt legitimate businesses and affect the livelihoods of law-abiding, hard-working people.
The associations feel that indiscriminately calling for blanket bans would delay and obstruct the development of a circular economy and sustainability in Malaysia.
They said Malaysia’s multinational and domestic manufacturers were facing tougher sustainability targets in export markets where consumers and governments were putting the circular economy into practice.
Legitimate recyclers support the Malaysian economy by providing recycled plastics as raw material to sectors such as electrical and electronics, automotive, furniture, food and construction.
Moreover, both associations noted that the amended Basel Convention, which came into force on Jan 1, 2021, now regulates transboundary movements of plastic waste from export to import.
“’Sampah plastik’ cannot be shipped here from exporting countries without the prior written consent of the Department of Environment (DOE) which is Malaysia’s competent authority for notification,” they said.
Numerous regulatory and enforcement agencies are coordinating their actions to prevent the entry of plastic waste under the new regulations, including that of the Royal Malaysian Customs Department, National Solid Waste Management, port authorities, and Solid Waste Management Agency, among others.
The associations said the DOE is informed of imports of clean, homogeneous plastic scrap material which are properly imported by the legitimate recyclers.
“We have even accepted the imposition of the RM20 per tonne levy to help defray the cost of enforcement, including port inspections of containers. This levy is in addition to 18 new stringent rules and regulations which we must comply with,” they added.