KUALA LUMPUR: Plastic recyclers expect their contributions to the economy to increase to between RM15bil and RM20bil annually if there is more investment in technology, infrastructure and upgraded capacity.
The Malaysian Plastics Manufacturers Association (MPMA) and Malaysian Plastics Recyclers Association (MPRA) said Malaysia needed to go hi-tech in order for the plastics recycling industry to develop into a sustainable economy.
“Policies and practices to support viable recycling industries for all materials are crucial to strengthen Malaysia’s waste management system and prevent improperly disposed plastics from polluting the environment, ” the MPMA and MPRA said in the joint white paper “An advanced plastics recycling industry for Malaysia”.
They said the plastics recycling industry had contributed RM4.5bil to the Malaysian economy and they foresaw growth opportunity by converting waste to wealth and for catalysing the development of a circular economy.
The plastics industry is also part of a steering group to establish a Malaysian Plastics Pact, a national initiative for constructive dialogue among stakeholders from manufacturers and brand owners to government, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), as well as the public.
MPMA vice president CC Cheah said the pact, with the aid of the Global Waste and Resources Action Programme, would set up a platform to discuss and agree on local targets, for example increasing recycled content in plastic packaging, said.
“We alone cannot solve the issue of plastic pollution, but by working together with the plastics industry’s stakeholders, we can build an advanced plastics recycling industry to counter plastics pollution and transition Malaysia successfully to a circular economy, ” Cheah said.
“To transition to a circular economy and to develop sustainably while protecting the environment, Malaysia needs a feasible, effective and advanced waste management system for the country. We must address the issue of human behaviour, and not demonise any particular material or industry, ” he added.