NCEC agrees to waste management law reform

KUALA LUMPUR: The National Circular Economy Council (NCEC) has agreed to a legislative transformation to ensure the circular economy for solid waste management can operate smoothly nationwide.

The Housing and Local Government Ministry emphasised the need for transformation, stating that the current legislation is inadequate to implement a holistic circular economy.

“Therefore, there is a need to conduct a study for the drafting of the Circular Economy Bill to develop a more specific and comprehensive Act that covers the product lifecycle from production to post-consumer stages that can be adopted by all states,” it said in a statement, Bernama reported.

The inaugural meeting, held on April 30, was chaired by Housing and Local Government Minister Nga Kor Ming.

Also present were representatives of relevant ministries, as well as state authorities, industry players and other stakeholders.

According to the ministry, solid waste management in Malaysia is regulated by the Solid Waste and Public Cleansing Management Act 2007 (Act 672) and the Local Government Act 1976 (Act 171).

NCEC also agreed to intensify efforts to boost the national recycling rate by empowering local authorities and garnering support from the industry to accelerate the transition towards a circular economy, according to the statement.

It was also decided that the ministry and industry should join forces to study material flow analysis in calculating the national recycling rate, starting with the plastic commodity sector before expanding to other commodities such as metal, paper and textile.

This is to improve data collection and reporting methods for a more comprehensive depiction of circular economy performance in Malaysia.

According to the ministry, NCEC acknowledges the need for informal workers and small and medium enterprises to spur recycling activities, with further research to be conducted in collaboration with industry players.

“The government will take note of the need for incentives to encourage the involvement and contribution of this sector to the country’s recycling industry.”

NCEC also called on all parties to play a role in managing post-consumer products efficiently and effectively to ensure that solid waste management remains sustainable through the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR).

“EPR is a crucial mechanism to accelerate the comprehensive transition to a circular economy. In this regard, the ministry will engage with retailers and general merchandise companies soon to discuss proposals regarding the phasing out of single-use plastic bags,” it added.

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