Follow us for updates
© 2022
Read the Story →

Southeast Asia Wasting $6 Billion on Single-Use Plastic: World Bank

The cost of not recycling.
by Bloomberg News
Mar 24, 2021
Photo/s: Jerome Ascano

Southeast Asian countries lose out on as much as $6 billion (P292 billion) a year as most of their single-use plastics are thrown out rather than recovered and recycled, the World Bank said in a new study.

More than 75% of recyclable plastics in Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines are left to waste, representing a “significant untapped business opportunity” in the circular economy, according to the report issued Tuesday.

Thailand, which has the largest petrochemical sector in Southeast Asia, recycles the smallest portion of its plastic waste at less than 18%. While Thailand has shown growing interest and increased investment in recycling facilities, few of them are linked to the country’s resin manufacturing businesses, the study showed.

Bloomberg News
Continue reading below ↓

In both Malaysia and the Philippines, major brands in the packaging and fast-moving consumer goods industries are opting for more recycled content in their products. However, most recyclable suppliers are small- and medium-sized enterprises that often don’t have the scale, management systems or technologies to meet the demand.

“These studies show that there is an untapped opportunity to reap environmental and economic benefits with clear and complementary interventions from the private and public sector,” said Ndiamé Diop, World Bank country director for Brunei, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand.


Ramon Ang Wants to Clean the Pasig River, Here's How He'll Do It

Plastic Straws, Coffee Stirrers could be Banned Soon, Says DENR

Pag-Asa the Philippine Eagle, First Captive Born and Bred, Has Died

Setting recycled-content targets, mandating “design for recycling” standards, and imposing waste-collection requirements per industry can unlock additional material value for Southeast Asia, the bank said. Governments should also consider increasing sorting efficiency, restricting disposal of plastic waste in landfills, and phasing out non-essential plastic items.

Continue reading below ↓
Recommended Videos

Building up the business model for plastic recycling will help divert waste from landfills, reducing the risk that it leaks into waterways, the World Bank said.

As much as 13 million tons of plastic waste enter the world’s oceans each year, with Asia responsible for more than 80% of it. The Philippines and Thailand are the third- and sixth-worst plastic polluters in the world, respectively, according to World Bank data.

Latest Headlines
Read Next
Recent News
Faster travel times to and from Taguig, Pasay, and Parañaque.
With the reopening of several local destinations, this app has never been more timely.
Millennial mayor says to limit attendance in events.
Rising from the ashes of the Pinatubo eruption.
J&J will focus on cornstarch-based products.
The news. So what? Subscribe to the newsletter that explains what the news means for you.
The email address you entered is invalid.
Thank you for signing up to On Three, reportr's weekly newsletter delivered to your mailbox three times a week. Only the latest, most useful and most insightful reads.
By signing up to newsletter, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.