Recycled plastic imports will be allowed into Malaysia for another three years, but only a handful of recycling companies have been given permission to do so.
According to Malaysian Insight, the Malaysian Government will not immediately cease the import of recycled plastic as previous indicated. Instead it has significantly reduced the issuance of import permits to only eight out of 114 recycling companies nationwide.
In an interview with Malaysian Insight, the Malaysian Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin said: “One of the criteria for the issuance of the AP (approved permits) is that the application must be based on the quality of plastic waste, and not the garbage plastic.”
It was previously reported that the Government stopped giving out plastic waste APs since 23 July. However, it will still continue to award permits to importers who meet the guidelines and criteria implemented by the Government.
The Housing Minister added: “I want to maintain the plastic-processing industry in the country because it is worth RM30 billion (£5.5 billion).”
Companies that apply for an AP should also get approval from the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (Mida) and the Department of Environment, she said.
Although the import of plastic waste from the UK and other countries still remains, the Government is looking to ban this in three years. However, it may extend the time under which imports are allowed if the local economy cannot generate enough material for its recycling industry.
Zuraida Kamaruddin added: “After that, we want to concentrate on the local recycling industries. We understand that sorting and recycling is not up to the level yet, so that’s why we are giving it three years. We also have to see if the plastic we generate internally can cater for the local volume of business. If not, we will extend (the permits).”
The Government is currently producing new guidelines and specifications for applicants, so that the companies that have not been granted import permits can apply for the AP.
She added: “We have received applications, but we still have to approve them. We still have to carry out inspection before anything is approved. Customs (Royal Malaysian Customs Department) should also play a strategic role by checking on the plastics that are being imported.”