Better Managing Plastic Waste Could Combat Marine Pollution and Unlock Billions of Dollars for a Circular Economy:

Southeast Asia A series of World Bank Group studies showed the untapped economic opportunities to promote plastic circularity and address marine debris in Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand. 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% of the material value of the plastics is lost – the equivalent of $6 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.

There are common actions that governments and industries could take to help Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand unlock additional material value. Recommendations include the following:

l Increase sorting efficiency of post-consumer collection of plastics.

l Set recycled content targets across all major end-use applications.

l Mandate “design for recycling” standards for plastics, especially for packaging.

l Encourage increase in recycling capacities (mechanical and chemical).

l Implement industry-specific requirements to increase waste collection rates.

l Restrict disposal of waste plastics in landfills and phase-out non-essential plastic items. Source Managing Plastic Waste to Combat Marine Pollution in Southeast Asia (worldbank.org)

Better Managing Plastic Waste Could Combat Marine Pollution and Unlock Billions of Dollars for a Circular Economy: Southeast Asian nations lose $6 billion annually from not recycling plastics — a “significant untapped business opportunity” — according to a new World Bank report. Only about 25% of single-use plastics in Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand are given a second lease of life as new products, with the waste also hurting industries like fisheries and tourism. The report suggests several solutions for government and industries, including improving sorting and collection, instituting “design for recycling” standards, and more.

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