PETALING JAYA: The government should set a quota on how much plastic waste can be imported into the country, says the Malaysian Manufacturers Plastic Association (MPMA).
MPMA recycling sub-committee chairman C.C. Cheah said that the local industry only needed sufficient imports that it could handle.
“We don't want to import the whole world's waste…We do not want limitless imports,” he told The Star Online in an interview.
In July, the Housing and Local Government Ministry revoked the Approved Permits (APs) for plastic waste imports, affecting 114 legal plastic waste factories nationwide for three months until Oct 23.
This followed an uproar over the illegal recycling factories set up in Kuala Langat that caused widespread pollution, causing health problems to the residents there.
Cheah said that they agreed with the ban, although some legit local recycling operators faced a shortage of materials, affecting their operations.
“We regret that but unfortunately, it has to happen to protect the sustainability of the industry," he said.
“The plastic recycling industry should be allowed to go about in its activities provided that it is regulated,” added Cheah.
China banned plastic waste imports in 2018, leading to a huge impact on the global recycling system.
As a result, the waste from countries such as Britain, Australia and New Zealand was offloaded to places such as Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.
According to official statistics, the amount of plastic waste imported into the Malaysia almost doubled from RM274mil in 2016 to RM490mil in 2017.
Only those with APs can import plastic waste, but according to Cheah, there was a possibility that some operators sold the waste they imported to illegal ones.
The government has now made it compulsory for those wanting to import waste to get the ISO 14000 certification by June 2019.
The ISO 14000 family of standards provides practical tools for companies and organisations of all kinds looking to manage their environmental responsibilities.