KUALA LUMPUR, March 23 — A series of World Bank Group studies show that there are untapped opportunities for Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand to reap environmental and economic benefits with clear and complementary interventions from the private and public sectors.
Country director for Brunei, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand Ndiame Diop said mismanaged plastic waste across these three countries is threatening key economic sectors such as tourism and fisheries, and impacting livelihoods and infrastructure.
“But there is strong government momentum in these countries to identify critical policies and craft roadmaps to strengthen demand for all recycled plastic resins, level the playing field for global and domestic companies and help drive a circular economy for plastics,” he said in a statement today.
According to the World Bank, the studies examine untapped economic opportunities to promote plastic circularity and address marine debris in Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand.
It said using a plastic value chain approach, the studies evaluate the plastics recycling industry and its role in supporting a circular economy and scaling up recycling efforts via targeted public and private sector interventions.
“The country studies found that less than a quarter of plastics available for recycling in Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand are being recycled into valuable materials.
“More than 75 per cent of the material value of the plastics is lost — the equivalent of US$6 billion (RM24.7 billion) per year across the three countries — when single-use plastics are discarded rather than recovered and recycled, representing a significant untapped business opportunity if key market barriers can be addressed,” it said.
It added that there are common actions that governments and industries could take to help Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand unlock additional material value and this include increase sorting efficiency of post-consumer collection of plastics, set recycled content targets across all major end-use applications and implement industry-specific requirements to increase waste collection rates.