Industry News

Malaysian government announces it is sending plastic waste back to Australia

The Malaysian government has announced it will ship 450 metric tonnes of contaminated plastic waste back to the countries it came from, which includes Australia.

On May 28, the Malaysian Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change (MESTECC) stated it will return the plastic waste contained in 10 containers back to Australia, United States, Canada, Saudi Arabia, Japan, China and Bangladesh.

The ministry is also running an inspection process on more than 50 containers, which it stated was brought into Malaysia illegally.

A total of 3,000 metric tonnes of plastic waste from 60 containers are expected to be shipped back once the containers are fully inspected.

Five containers were also sent back to Spain in April, 2019.

The ministry indicated the containers being shipped back to countries such as Australia are filled with contaminated, non-homogeneous, low quality, non-recyclable plastic waste, and are routed to processing facilities, which do not have the technology to recycle in an environmentally sound manner.

This practice is against the Environmental Quality Act (EQA) 1974, in Malaysia.

In response to the growing issue of plastic waste in Australia, after the implementation of the China National Sword policy and other key challenges the industry is facing, the Australian government has announced the appointment of an Assistant Minister for Waste Reduction and Environment Management.

The new Assistant Minister, Trevor Evans, was appointed on May 26 as part of Scott Morrison’s new cabinet.

Evans said he is humbled to have been sworn in as the Assistant Minister for Waste Reduction and Environmental Management.

“[I’m] looking forward to the challenges ahead and working as a strong advocate for protecting Australia’s environment.”

This is Evans’ first assistant minister appointment. Prior to this position, his experience includes holding the position of chief of the National Retail Association, working as an economist in the energy and utilities sectors, as well as in consumer protection and competition policy at the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).