A Roadmap Towards the Circular Economy in Asia

 

In alignment with the growing global movement to tackle plastic and packaging waste we are setting long term targets to encourage a sustainable plastics and packaging industry supported through a robust recycling collection system with reprocessing factories based on Circular Economy values across the Asian Pacific region.

It is well known that five countries: China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam are responsible for 60% of global plastic waste in our oceans. Yet basic waste management infrastructure is weak and why we need to set long-term achievable objectives.

At the World Economic Forum in Davos in 2018, industry leaders agreed on a Global Plastics Protocol setting commonly agreed definitions and industry standards on what materials are put into the marketplace, to ensure packaging is compatible with existing and cost-effective recycling infrastructures. Unless we collectively and collaboratively include Asia these well meaning initiatives will not be achievable. 

Eliminate or Redesign Single-Use Plastic Packaging, Innovate New Sales Delivery Systems

 

Before we begin asking people to stop using single-use plastics, why don’t we begin by working towards alternatives first? Eliminating single-use plastic packaging will require replacing it with innovative product delivery systems and convincing sales models for businesses to make the transition.

Single-use plastic packaging, especially small sachets, has provided millions of poor people around the world the ability to purchase products they may not be able to afford. We have the technology to make these single-use plastics recyclable, our only requirements now is how do we collect them? Or rather how do we convince people to responsibly dispose of them within a cost-efficient collection system?

100% of Plastic Packaging to be Recyclable, Compostable or Reusable

 

Asia accounts for approximately 30% of all global manufacturing which include packaging. In India alone there are 25,000+ plastic manufacturers employing more than three million people. We need to make a massive push for change and our long-term targets gives us a tangible goal to work towards.

Increase Recycled Content to 50% of All Plastic Packaging

 

An efficient and convenient collection systems will make this feasible. We have the technology, the processing facilities and industry commitment alongside consumers preferring more sustainable options and choices. Visit our Recyclable Resource Recovery Collection System to read about our plan.

Increase the Collection and Reprocessing of Plastic Packaging to 75%

 

We believe people will respond if there is an efficient and convenient collection system with reprocessing facilities producing new products from waste. Most people like to feel good about the efforts they make and knowing their recycling will end up being reprocessed into new products as part of the Circular Economy is a great incentive.

A Voluntary Phase-Out of Microbeads in Cosmetics and Personal Care Products

 

Although many international brands have or are in the process of phasing out microbeads, there are thousands of locally produced products that still contain these unnecessary harmful ingredients. A review from Asian government to regulate microbeads as an additive will be a good step in the right direction. Consumers can also vote through their choice of product. To learn more or find out which products contain microbeads refer to this UN Environment Program sponsored website “Beat the Microbead“.

 

Click image or ‘Microbeads: Face to Fish‘ to expand

A Commitment to R&D, with Annual Targets, Specifically to Transition Countries to the Circular Economy

 

It is crucial that Asian company’s, innovators, universities and entrepreneurs take their place alongside like-minded individuals and organisations across the globe as we transition to the Circular Economy.

With a commitment to Asian-centric R&D programs, especially in the fields of engineering, chemicals, energy, Circular Economy entrepreneurship, Circular design, green tech, IoT and manufacturing we build up local scientific and intellectual capacity which, in turn, contributes to a sustainable future for all.

So far we have only focused on plastic packaging, however a lot of reprocessed plastic waste will end up as textiles which will leak microfibers into the environment. China, India and Bangladesh manufacture most of the world’s textiles and produce clothes for consumers all over the world.  Other Asian countries are not far behind. Including R&D into the Asia Plastics & Packaging Agreement as part of a sustainable plastics, packaging and fashion industry to foster solutions specific to the socio-economic landscape of this region.

References:

UN Environment Day image

Sustainable Packaging image is from an exhibition at the Museum of Brands, Packaging & Advertising

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