feature-southeast asian plastic recyclers hope to clean up after china ban - glass water bottle companies
Kuala Lumpur, January 16 (
Thomson Reuters Foundation-
When Seah Kian Hoe is only 10 years old, he will jump on the back of his parents' pickup truck during school holidays to help them collect waste and go out --to-
Located in a residential area of Johor, southern Malaysia.
They will spend hours separating glass bottles, aluminum cans, discarded newspapers and metal.
Seah now employs 350 employees to help him manage the Henghai industry, one of the top five plastic recycling businesses in Malaysia, which processes about 40,000 tons of waste from domestic and foreign suppliers every year.
"It was just cleaning up 35 years ago
This is a very different era than it is now, "Seah told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
"I want to go into the recycling industry and do it in a different way.
"The henghiap industry is just one of the Southeast Asian plastic recycling companies that are prepared to benefit from China's decision to ban the import of plastic waste from the beginning of 2018.
Before the ban, which shocked many in the industry, was introduced, China was the main importer of such waste.
Import in 2016 7.
3 million tons of scrap plastic worth $3.
7 billion, accounting for 56% of world imports.
Over the past 20 years, China has been keen to absorb as much plastic waste as possible, which has helped to boost the expansion of its manufacturing industry.
But after a series of scandals involving unscrupulous players in the garbage market, policymakers took action.
Misdemeanor includes filling containers with mixed or toxic waste rather than specific types that are labeled as recycling, and the illegal smuggling of waste that is simply dumped in a landfill.
Plastic China Award-
The award-winning documentary, released at the end of 2016, triggered further public anger by highlighting the labor and environmental costs of vulnerable groups
As part of China's environmental clean-up efforts, including promoting electric cars and reducing coal use, Beijing last year launched a campaign against harmful "foreign garbage.
Some of the worst
Plastic waste exporters in the United States and the United Kingdom have been hit
Let the two countries rush to find other places to receive garbage.
"The industry is not ready for this," says Surendra Patawari Borad, a businessman who runs a recycling company in Belgium and the United States and serves as chairman of the plastics board in Brussels
Headquartered in the international recycling bureau (BIR).
"I used to talk about Europe and the United States. S.
"If there is a cold in China, we will have a fever, and if there is a fever in China, we will have pneumonia," he added . ".
Due to the inability to ship their plastic waste to China, the UK and the US may now improve their domestic recycling capacity in order to reduce exports.
But industry officials say it may take years, but it may not be enough.
"If someone has a problem selling scrap plastic right now, they shouldn't complain --
They should look at themselves because of this. . .
It's been a while, "said Damien Van Leuven, founder of van den Global, an international plastic recycling company based in Hong Kong.
Many of the UK and the US are facing an increasing inventory of plastic wasteS.
Some industry researchers told the Thomson Reuters Foundation that the company is either burning some plastic to recycle energy or sending materials to landfill sites.
They warned that both methods would have disastrous effects on the environment. “Do they (China)
Because we are land, we only care about the global environment or their own environment.
Thanks to the actions they are taking, very good materials have now been filled, "said Adina Renee Adler, senior director of international relations at the Washington Institute of Scrap Recycling industry. The labour-
The intensive work of decomposing, cleaning, bundles of plastic waste, being separated into different plastic resins, and eventually making particles, ready to be reshaped into new products, is now expected to fall into the Southeast Asian countries.
Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand are among Southeast Asian countries that have attracted Chinese investors into the plastic recycling industry over the past year, eager to fill the gaps left by China, industry insiders said.
Most people have not yet developed their own domestic recycling collection and public awareness of the issue, but their access to cheap labor and access to Chinese manufacturing is in their favor.
Preliminary data shared by BIR with Thomson Reuters Foundation shows that plastic waste imports in Southeast Asia are already growing rapidly.
Part of the reason is the ramp
BIR estimates that Malaysia's annual imports of plastic waste jumped to 450,000 in the last quarter of last year --
It was 500,000 tons in 2017 and 288,000 tons in 2016.
Vietnam imports rose 62% to 500,000
550,000 annual for 2017 tons Thailand and Indonesia respectively growth 117% and 65%.
However, the industry is concerned that a large influx of unregulated plastic waste into these countries could lead to similar problems with China, resulting in replicationcat bans.
To avoid this, industry officials have urged Southeast Asian countries to strengthen health and safety regulations so that they can properly monitor the entry of plastics into their country and stop illegal acts.
Greenpeace East Asia plastics activist Liu Hua wants to see the company use less plastic packaging for a longer period of time
But for now, governments in Southeast Asia should strengthen environmental control to limit the spread of hazardous chemical waste and any negative effects on human health, he said.
Steve Wong, executive chairman of the China waste plastics association, called for greater control over imports, licensing and factory environmental inspections.
Borad of BIR said that so far, 8 billion tons of plastic has been produced in the world.
Only 9% are recycled and less than 80% are treated as waste
Sent to a landfill or dumped in the ocean.
As awareness of the dangers of allowing plastic waste to eventually enter the ocean rises, in the ocean plastic waste can poison fish and possibly enter the human food chain, recycling capacity will need to be substantial worldwide
In Malaysia, Seah remembers that his parents had been ashamed of collecting and reusing waste products as an disrespectful profession.
But when his recycling company won the International Environmental Leadership Award in 2013, it helped them change their minds.
Southeast Asian countries are now facing a similar battle to change the perception of the recycling industry.
"I don't believe in the global problem of plastic pollution --
"The global problem of plastic ignorance," Seah said . ".
"It's a substance with a lot of hidden value. " (
Michael Taylor, editor of Megan Rowling;
Please thank the Thomson Reuters Foundation, a Thomson Reuters charity that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, property rights, climate change and resilience. Visit news. trust. org)