Blanket ban on plastic waste will affect legit recyclers, say trade groups

The government is turning  back container-loads of plastic waste from other countries.

GEORGE TOWN: Two trade groups representing plastic manufacturers and recyclers today disagreed with a consumer group’s call to ban all plastic waste imports, saying it would affect their business.

The Consumers’ Association of Penang yesterday called for the cancelling of approved permits (APs) for importing plastic waste to address the issue of unwanted foreign plastic waste and air pollution.

Malaysian Plastics Manufacturers Association (MPMA) and Malaysia Plastics Recyclers Association (MPRA) said if a blanket ban was imposed, it would badly affect legitimate recycling factories.

In a joint statement, the MPMA and MPRA said the authorities must stop smuggled plastic scrap and waste, which had resulted in mounds of such waste being discovered across the country.

“If legal plastic recyclers go out of business, it would hurt the environment because they actively process Malaysia’s domestic plastic waste.

“Recycling plays a vital role in protecting the environment as well as properly managing and disposing of waste.

“As an economic activity, recycling is crucial to create new value that benefits society and contributes to sustainability.

“Legal operators support Malaysia’s manufacturing and export sectors in electrical and electronic industries, the automotive sector and others,” they said.

They said rather than preventing recyclable plastic from entering the country and being processed at legitimate factories, there should be a debate on how scrap plastic can be disposed of safely and how smuggling can be stopped.

The MPMA and MPRA are also keen on devising an effective legal framework for the plastic recycling industry and would be ready to assist in cracking down on illegal factories to protect the environment.

“We reiterate our stand that Malaysia has no place for other countries’ rubbish. We should not become the developed world’s dumping ground.”