Existing production and consumption patterns in Southeast Asian countries are mostly based on a linear raw materials economy in which plastic materials are poorly managed and disposed as waste after a short period of use. The widespread use of single-use plastic (SUP) contributes significantly to the pollution of water and sea. Low raw material prices, counterproductive systems, a lack of awareness and missing alternatives are the main reasons for the rapidly growing amount of disposable plastic. Thai, Malaysian and Indonesian policy makers have recognised that the introduction of circular economy principles in production and trade along the waste hierarchy (i.e. reduce, reuse, recycle) can be an essential solution, although the focus on prevention strategies has only recently become a political focus. The project responds to Malaysia’s upcoming 12th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025) and Thailand’s Plastic Roadmap (2018-2030), which aims at reducing or banning SUP products by replacing these with durable, repairable, and more environmentally friendly alternatives. In Indonesia, the project works in alignment with its National Plastics Action Plan (NPAP).
The aim of the project is to reduce single-use plastic waste with a clear focus on upstream strategies of prevention and preparation for re-use. To this end, the project employs a blended approach, consisting of policy advice on circular economy and extended producer responsibility (EPR) approaches (Malaysia only), capacity development for key stakeholders, local government pilot activities and support for innovative business models tackling SUP prevention. The project contributes directly to the Sustainable Development Goal to ensure sustainable production and consumption patterns (SDG 12), especially Target 12.5 “By 2030,substantially reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse”.
Institutional Framework: We advise and support our local partners and other key players in the development of Circular Economy Regulatory frameworks and strategies, recycling markets and implementation of systems for extended producer responsibility (in Malaysia). Furthermore, we advise on product-related environmental protection such as the development of eco-designs, guidelines and material efficiency criteria. These can then be certified with eco-labels and supported through sustainable public procurement.
New Business Solutions: We support Thai, Malaysian and international partners in the development of innovative and sustainable business models for SUP prevention and/or preparation for reuse.
Pilot Projects: We design and implement pilot projects aiming at SUP reduction with local municipalities.
Knowledge Management: We analyse lessons learnt and disseminate best practices to relevant institutions.
RESULTS SO FAR
The project has successfully established a steering structure and technical working groups in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.
In Thailand, the first knowledge sharing events have highlighted the European set-up of its Circular Economy Policy Framework under the European Green Deal. Based on this, the technical working groups are now developing inputs for Thailand’s BCG (Bio Economy, Circular Economy and Green Economy) strategy towards technical recommendations for future circular packaging policies.
The pilot project with the Phuket Municipality is going to support the city in developing SUP reduction plans and assist the business community in reducing their SUP footprints. In one activity, CAP SEA partnered with the Bangkok Shapers under the World Economic Forum (WEF) Scale 360 initiative, and developed a catalogue of domestically available SUP alternatives.
In Malaysia, the product for the ‘stimulating plastic recycling markets and design for recycling’ has been selected and a preparatory study, scope definition and market analysis are in progress. A conformity assessment, review of existing procedures and assignment of roles and responsibilities of involved actors are being processed in the ‘Eco-design policy framework’ package. The pilot project for Malaysia is going to be Shah Alam (MBSA) province. To support the uptake of SUP alternatives, the project will incubate 2 start-ups providing refilling solutions and re-useable food containers for delivery. For this, the project partners with ENVIU, which is a Dutch NGO and venture builder.
In Indonesia, the working groups are being formed in alignment with the National Plastic Action Plan (NPAP). The pilot project will focus on re-useable food containers in the food delivery sector of selected neighborhoods in Jakarta.
Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand
Thailand: National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA)
Malaysia: Economic Planning Unit of the Prime Minister’s Office (EPU)
Indonesia: Coordinating Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Investment