Malaysia moves forward to attain a circular economy

Date Published:2/17/2020 08:02:25 下午

The Asia Manufacturing Summit: Creating a Circular Economy for Plastics had a sucessful launch on 5-6 December 2019 at Pullman Hotel Bangsar in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 
The rapidly growing population has created a huge demand for plastics. In Asia alone, the plastic waste problem has become a major concern given that over half of the plastics that end up in the oceans come from China and several Southeast Asian countries.  As China bans the importation of most global recyclable plastics to spur its own recycling capacity, Southeast Asian countries - such as Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia - have started to enforce their own import bans on plastic waste while at the same time coming up with legislation to stem the activities of illegal plastics recycling plants and enforcing stricter plastics use policies.   
Malaysia has recognized and joined the global initiatives to protect the environment by charting a zero-waste plan that will abolish single-use plastics by 2030.  The country’s roadmap toward zero single-use plastics aims to provide a policy direction to all stakeholders, including  government agencies and private companies, in taking a unified and collective approach. The roadmap also provides opportunities for the local industries to embrace new eco-friendly alternatives that could facilitate penetration to a wider global market as the world move toward adopting products and processes that can address plastic pollution.   
The Asia Manufacturing Summit: Creating a Circular Economy for Plastics was held on 5-6 December 2019 at Pullman Hotel Bangsar in Kuala Lumpur, and served as an ideal platform for 150 participants to learn about this roadmap and find out how the latest technologies and production processes can impact plastics production, waste management and recycling. With aim of achieving a circular economy in plastics production in Malaysia, the Summit was organized by Ringier Events, the conference arm of Ringier Trade Media Ltd.  
The Summit’s sponsors include leading companies such as FIMIC Srl, Starlinger Recycling Technology, Guangdong High Dream Intellectualized Machinery Co.,Ltd and Dongguan Keerhan Machinery Co., Ltd.  It also gathered the representatives from leading organizations in Malaysia such as the Malaysian Plastics Manufacturers Association, Malaysia Plastics Recyclers Association, Italy Malaysia Business Association, Circular Economy Asia, Waste Management Association of Malaysia and from the Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment & Climate Change (MESTECC).
Circular economy: a timely topic
The rapidly growing population has created a huge demand for plastics that from 2 million tons of plastics produced in 1950, production has risen to 348 million tons in 2017. As a result, the world has been faced with a substantial increase in plastic waste and now has to respond to the urgent question of what to do with the huge piles of plastic waste in every corner of the earth and how to prevent further damage to the environment.
The concept of “circular economy” now plays a central role in the plastics industry’s move to protect the environment.  Many big players in the plastics industry are now actively taking part to develop new technologies and materials to meet this goal. These industry players have formed associations and initiatives to launch projects directed to promote recycling and make a circular economy in plastics a reality.  
Asia Manufacturing Summit - Malaysia
The industry experts invited for this Summit shared their views on many issues surrounding plastics recycling and the quest for a circular economy. Ms. Wee Ching Yun,  Chairman of the Sustainability Sub-Committee of the Malaysian Plastic Manufacturers Association (MPMA), discussed the challenges and opportunities in sustainability of plastics.  Another interesting presentation was delivered by the CEO of Circular Economy Asia (CEA), Ms. Adrienna Zsakay, when she talked about the Asian plastics and packaging agreement and the recommendations on how the circular economy on plastics can be effectively achieved. Ms. Aria Chen, Regional Sales Manager of FIMIC Srl, discussed the latest melt filtration solutions for contaminated plastics recycling and how these can benefit the industry. Ms Sarifah Binti Yaacob,  Chairman of the Training Committee of the Waste Management Association of Malaysia (WMAM), focused on dealing with plastic waste management; while Mr. David Schweinzer,  Regional Sales Consultant at Starlinger Recycling Technology, discussed the latest solution for effective plastic pelletizing.  
Another important issue is profitability, and Mr. Ravi Purushotham,  Director – Asia Pacific of Rapid Granulator Asia Pacific Pty. Ltd, tackled the issue of how increased profitability can be achieved through recycling.  Mr.  Suhas Dixit, Regional Sales Consultant from Agile Process Chemicals Llp (Apchemi),  grabbed attention with his topic on sustainable recycling of the toughest and dirtiest plastic waste. Mr Loh Eng Aun, Group Chief Operating Officer Malaysia at  TerraPhoenix®  - iCYCLE®, discussed how digital economy is the new paradigm of the circular economy.  Mr. Joey Roi Bondoc, Senior Research Manager of Colliers International, wrapped up the first day of the Summit with his overview on the investment opportunities and prospects for the circular economy in Malaysia.  
Asia Manufacturing Summit
The second day of the Summit continued to present valuable information through industry experts who shared their insights on efficient production solutions and recycling. Ms. Nor Haswani Kamis, Principal Assistant Secretary in the Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment & Climate Change (MESTECC), gave an overview on Malaysia’s roadmap toward zero single-use plastics; while a very timely topic on Industry 4.0 and where to start implementing was discussed by Mr Chong Von Kee, CEO of Innoark Pte. Ltd. Ms. Deidre Wong, Country Manager of Milliken Asia Pte Ltd, provided an update on new material solutions while Mr. Wang Yong, General Manager of Anji Plastic Machinery, discussed how plastic recycling can benefit from filtration solutions.   
The last day was capped by a factory tour where the delegates visited Diyou Fibre (M) Sdn Bhd located at the Arab Malaysia Industrial Park to find out about the company’s operations and products. Diyou Fibre has been producing recycled materials from post-consumer plastics and bottles for more than 20 years.  Having formed strategic partnerships with various foreign companies, Diyou Fibre has been able to strengthen its production capacity to support the country’s move toward effective waste management and attaining a circular economy. 
To make the most from this Summit, the participants were encouraged to expand their network by communicating directly with other industry professionals, with the speakers and sponsors.  A cocktail party was also held to enable participants to get to know each other.  Buyer – Supplier match making services were  also arranged with the sponsors and delegates for further discussions.    
Positive response from participants 
The Summit generated positive response from various participants. From the delegates side, the Summit presented many interesting points and technical information that they can use in their own businesses.  Ms. Joanne Woo, Country Sales Manager, MCC Labels (Balakong) Sdn. Bhd., said: “We find the event very interesting because each participant is actually the customers that we need, and because many people are asking about recycling and biodegradable options, we gain important information on these topics. MCC, being an international company, offers solutions meeting the inquiries of most participants.”  This view was seconded by Mr. Jason Bang, Regional Business Development Manager at MCC Labels, when he said that this is the first time that they attended a technical conference like the Summit: “We gained a holistic understanding of the recycling process and everything that has to do with recycling. Since our customers are actually driving these initiatives, the event enabled us to have a better understanding of the recycling sector.”
Ir. Dr. Nor Yuliana Yuhana, Professor at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Department of Chemical & Process Engineering, Faculty of Engineering & Built Environment, stated that the Summit offered her an introduction into recycling. “I learned a lot from this Summit, and also from some of the participants. The topics covered are all interesting and the sharing of ideas are valuable inputs that I can use for my work.”   Mr. Daniel Loo, who represented the Malaysia Plastics Recyclers Association, said that the Summit covered many vital issues confronting the recycling sector in the country. “We are thankful that Ringier Events decided to launch this Summit in Malaysia as we believe that many people should have knowledge on the importance of effective and efficient plastics recycling to alleviate the plastic waste problem.”  Another delegate, Associate Professor Dr. Satirenjit Kaur Johl from the Universiti Technologi Petronas found the Summit and the speaker lineup very good: “We enjoyed listening to the speakers that’s why I stayed from the beginning until the end because the organizers managed to capture the audience to stay on due to the interesting topics and the expert speakers.”   
Asia Manufacturing Summit
For the speakers, the Summit provided them with an ideal platform to introduce their ideas and gain knowledge on the feedback of industry professionals.  Sponsors’ representatives such Mr. Zhipeng Lan, General Manager of Dongguan Keerhan Machinery Co., Ltd said: “We’ve been cooperating with Ringier in some events and this one in Malaysia really went well. We are happy that we got to meet new contacts and that the organizers  also set up meetings potential customers.”  Mr. David Schweinzer, Regional Sales Consultant at Starlinger said: “This event is an ideal venue to meet new contacts especially in the Malaysian market. I thank Ringier Events for organizing this Summit and for paving the way for me to meet new contacts.”  
Ms. Aria Chen, Regional Sales Manager of FIMIC Srl, also believed that the Summit brought FIMIC nearer the Malaysian market as she was able to meet representatives from various industry associations based in Malaysia. Another speaker, Mr. Ravi Purushotham,  Director – Asia Pacific of Rapid Granulator Asia Pacific Pty. Ltd, said that: “Ringier Events has done a good job bringing together the right industry professionals as participants and speakers. The Summit was very well organized.”