In December 2021, the Malaysia Plastic Sustainability Roadmap, 2021–2030 (hereinafter “the Roadmap”) was published in Malaysia. The Roadmap identifies strategies and concrete action plans for achieving plastic circularity within the country. The Roadmap presents the concept and mechanism of a circular economy and analyzes the current state of policy measures, regulations, technologies, R&D, and economics with regard to the entire life cycle of plastics from production to disposal, outlining responding action plans. In addition to setting targets up to 2030, the Roadmap mentions the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) scheme to be introduced in Malaysia.
The Roadmap can be downloaded from:
Objectives and targets
The three objectives for controlling plastics as set out in the Roadmap are:
- To sustainably address plastic pollution in Malaysia, ensuring economic development, environmental protection and societal wellbeing;
- To provide guidance and promote sustainable business practices in ensuring plastics circularity and sustainability through circular economy approach; and
- To harmonise actions along plastic value chain through adoption of life cycle approach.
In addition, various targets with regard to sustainable control of plastics to 2030 are set in the Roadmap. Among them, key items are listed below.
- Phasing out problematic single-use plastics (e.g., plastics that are not recyclable, reusable, or compostable, or that contain hazardous chemicals)
- Achieving 25% recycling rate for plastic packaging by 2025 and 100% by 2050
- Achieving 15% average recycled content for various products by 2030
- Achieving 76% average collected-for-recycling (CFR) rate by 2030
- Developing halal certification standards for recycled PET (rPET) materials by 2022
- Implementing a mandatory EPR scheme for plastic packaging by 2026
- Setting minimum threshold of recycled content for plastic packaging by 2026
- Setting minimum threshold of recycled content for automotive by 2029
As mentioned above, the Roadmap aims to introduce EPR scheme. Businesses subject to the EPR scheme will be required to pay an eco-modulated fee for a fund based on the type of plastic and its recoverability and recyclability, as well as production volume and turnover. The fund collected will be used to collect, sort, recycle and dispose of plastic waste. Independent Producer Responsibility Organisations (PRO) will be established to serve as a central hub for operating the EPR scheme. In addition, EPR-related targets and product improvement requirements will also be incorporated in the EPR governance framework. The EPR scheme is planned to become mandatory in 2026, being launched and implemented as a voluntary one from 2023 to 2025. The types of plastics and the businesses to be subject to the EPR scheme are currently unknown.
In Malaysia, a voluntary PRO known as the Malaysian Recycling Alliance (MAREA) has been established already. Since 2021, the MAREA has worked towards its target of at least 25% recycle rate for used plastic packaging materials from its 10 member companies. The MAREA’s member companies include not only international companies such as Coca-Cola and Nestlé, but also Malaysian companies such as Etika.