Import of plastic waste banned

Not biodegradable: Plastic waste piled outside an illegal recycling factory in Jenjarom, Kuala Langat. — Reuters

PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia has permanently banned the import of plastic scrap, following revelations the country has become a top dumping ground for plastic waste, said Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin.

However, companies can apply for APs to import quality, clean plastic.

“We have agreed to stop the issuance of APs for the import of plastic scrap, the types that are contaminated.

“Those who wish to import quality, clean plastic can apply for new APs but there is strict criteria and we have added more conditions.

“At present, only eight companies in Malaysia fully comply with this criteria,” Zuraida told reporters after a multi-ministry meeting at her ministry here.

The additional conditions for companies include obtaining approval from the Department of Occupational Safety and Health, having their own factories and submitting their list of end product buyers.

“Some AP owners previously didn’t even have their own factories, so they sent their plastic waste to illegal factories,” said Zuraida.

Zuraida added imports of clean plastic will only be allowed for the next three years, to protect the local plastic industry.

The plastic recycling and manufacturing industry in Malaysia has an economic value of RM30bil while globally, it is worth RM600bil.

“So we will phase out the import of plastic waste in three years and then we go fully local,” said Zuraida.

Zuraida said Malaysia imported a total of 1.8 million tonnes of plastic from 33 countries since 2015.

“After this, we will limit import to only developed countries such as the United States, Korea, Japan and European countries.”

The meeting was chaired by Zuraida and attended by the ministers of the Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change; Ministry of Water, Land and Natural Resources; and the Ministry of International Trade and Industry.

The Malaysian Plastic Manufac­turers Association also shared their views during the meeting.

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