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PETALING JAYA, 15 November 2019: Fighting litter and preventing plastics from entering the environment is a joint effort by the plastics industry working together with governments, brand owners, consumers and communities, leaders of Asia’s plastics industry chimed at the 18th Term Conference of the ASEAN Federation of Plastics Industries (AFPI) and the 29th Asia Plastics Forum (APF).


“Litter remains the most pressing problem as a source of plastic waste and pollution and must be addressed as part of Asian countries’ efforts to develop a Circular Economy and a New Plastics Economy,” said APF secretary-general, Callum Chen.


“There simply is no technology to address littering. It is behavioural change that is needed to make the difference. The plastics industry alone cannot solve littering. It requires Government, environment groups, NGOs all coming together alongside the industry,” he added.


Some 50 industry leaders and experts from Asia’s plastics industry gathered today at the annual conference. Hosted by Malaysian Plastics Manufacturers Association (MPMA) who acts as the secretariat of APF and recently assumed its role as the Chairman of AFPI in September 2019, the conference was officiated by YB Dr Ong Kian Ming, Deputy Minister of the Ministry of International Trade, and Industry (MITI). 


“This platform is a necessary initiative to empower the local industry and motivate the industry players, particularly small-to-medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to remain aware of the current challenges and help them in assessing their capabilities and readiness to compete on a global scale. This is particularly important amidst growing consumer preference for sustainable solutions that can address concern for single use plastics,” said YB Dr Ong Kian Ming.


Every year, the AFPI Conference is held in conjunction with the APF and is rotated amongst 12 countries. Themed “Building a resilient and innovative plastics industry” this year, the participants explored new trends in plastics waste management and business opportunities in the circular economy.


They also discussed how to innovate in order to develop a New Plastics Economy and were briefed on the establishment of the Malaysian Plastics Pact and multi-stakeholder collaborations.


“ASEAN economies must be able to participate in these megatrends if their futures are to be assured. Threats to the value of labour, skills sets, foreign direct investments, income and wealth distribution and ultimately governance systems are growing, and likely to become more critical in the future,” said Datuk Lim Kok Boon, AFPI Chairman and MPMA President. 


“As an Asian regional group, we need to emphasise the importance of a circular economy and collaboration between our member countries. This regenerative approach, in contrast to the linear economy of “take-make-use-throw” system, requires the participation of all the parties in the entire chain,” he added


“Recycling is the key element of the Circular Economy. Together with Malaysian Plastics Recycling Association (MPRA), MPMA has committed to developing a clean, vibrant and healthy plastics recycling industry that would create a new engine of growth for employment and a dynamic export sector,” added Datuk Lim.


To achieve this long-term target, MPMA and MPRA in collaboration with Monash University Malaysia had published a White Paper on Advanced Plastics Recycling Industry for Malaysia. Launched recently in October 2019, the White Paper suggests for all stakeholders to have further discussions and consultations to advance and modernise the plastics recycling sector.


The AFPI conference was attended by government officials and key players across the supply chain from the 12 APF member countries, namely Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Langka, Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia.

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