Malaysian Energy, Green Technology, Science, Climate Change and Environment Minister Yeo Bee Yin has said that the country will introduce laws to ban imports of non-recyclable plastics next year.
It isn’t clear as yet how she defined non-recyclable plastics, but this does seem to include mixed plastics.
She said: “My ministry is committed to ensure that non-recycled plastic wastes will be illegal in Malaysia. We are also reviewing the (Environment) Act to improve our enforcement and the draft will be tabled next year in Parliament.”
Currently, import of recycled plastics are suspended by freezing the operation of Malaysian plastic recycling facilities that accepted imports.
The Minister revealed that imports will continue to be suspended until a newly formed committee decides on next steps. This committee involves her own department, plus the Housing and Local Government Ministry, the Land and Natural Resources Ministry, International Trade Department and Industry Ministry.
Additionally, 30 illegal plastic recycling facilities have been shut down. Minister Yeo Bee Yin added: “More than 30 illegal plastic recycling factories processing imported plastic wastes have been shut down. I was on the ground together with government agencies and we did not just shut them down we also cut their electricity, water supply and arrested the factory owners.
“I’ve instructed the Environmental Department to haul as many of these illegal (plastic factory) owners to court. We have seen the impact of uncontrolled plastic imports from January to June but since then, we have frozen all plastic waste imports.
“We are also monitoring the situation to ensure that no more illegal factories will open up.”