The European Union is shipping a great part of its #waste across the world, generating negative environmental, social & economic impacts. Together with GAIA and Friends of the Earth Malaysia, Zero Waste Europe has recently released a new case study that illustrates what’s happening in one of the most affected country: Malaysia.
This case study shows that illegal plastic waste exports to Malaysia do not only impact the environment and public health, but also undermines the truly sustainable zero waste solutions that recyclers’ cooperatives, social entrepreneurs, visionary policy-makers, and innovative practitioners are showing is a viable strategy to prevent and minimise waste, particularly in Penang, a groundbreaking zero waste state in South East Asia.
Besides grappling with its own plastic waste, Malaysia became the world’s plastic waste dumping ground in 2018. Countries from Europe and the United States exported their plastic problems to South East Asia, after China imposed its import ban in January 2018. From January to November 2018, Malaysia was the number one destination for plastic waste, receiving 15.7% of the total plastic exports from the top exporting countries.
In May 2020, Malaysian authorities began the process of returning more than 4,000 tonnes of contaminated, mixed plastic waste that had been illegally shipped from 20 countries, a sign of Malaysia’s determination to tackle the illegal trade in plastic waste.
Today in Malaysia, zero waste solutions create sustainable livelihoods, save money, and protect the environment and public health. This is an innovative and effective approach to waste management that must be supported, not undermined, by the EU and the global community, the report says.