Malaysian Minister of Housing and Local Government Zuraida Kamaruddin said that the Malaysian government has permanently stopped issuing plastic waste import licenses (APs). In addition, Zuraida said that Malaysia will gradually phase out imports of other types of plastics within three years.
Zuraida said that in addition to health and environmental factors, the move is to promote the development of the Malaysian plastics industry in the next three years.
“I know that plastic recycling is very profitable. So I also wonder if we should miss this economic opportunity? This is what the committee will study.”
—— Zuraida previously told Reuters
She also said that if measures are taken to strictly control the import of waste plastics, Malaysia will strictly enforce this requirement, requiring factories to adopt high-end green technologies and only allow operations in heavy industrial areas.
Little Boy in Garbage Dump in Malaysia
From January to July this year, Malaysia imported 456,000 tons of plastic waste from its 10 largest sources of plastic waste, compared with 316,600 tons for 2017 and 168,500 tons for 2016. According to the United Nations Trade Database and ISRI, the United States is the world's largest exporter of plastic waste, exporting 178, 238 tons of plastic waste to Malaysia from January to July this year. It is almost twice the size of Thailand, the second-largest export destination of the United States.
Malaysian Minister of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment, and Climate Change Yeo Bee Yin said that the plastics recycling industry is expected to generate RM3.5 billion in revenue this year.