On August 27th, 2019, the Alliance to End Plastic Waste held its first forum in Southeast Asia. The event took place during the ‘Circular Economy: Collaboration for Action’ conference in Bangkok, Thailand, hosted by Thailand-based SCG. Of the 39 member companies to date, many have significant operations in Southeast Asia, including Thailand. The Alliance has committed almost $1.0 billion in funds, with the goal of investing $1.5 billion over the next five years to develop solutions that will minimize and manage plastic waste and promote post-use solutions. Alliance efforts will focus many of its efforts in Southeast Asia, where the need is greatest.
“Sixty percent of plastic waste in the ocean can be sourced to five countries in Southeast Asia and we agree that this is a serious global challenge that calls for swift action and strong leadership,” said Cholanat Yanaranop, Executive Vice President, SCG and President, Chemicals Business, SCG “We have many successful cases and piloting initiatives, as well as waste management projects and solutions based on the circular economy approach with the local collaborative projects,” he added.
Jim Seward, Vice President, Sustainability, Technology and Joint Ventures, LyondellBasell, said, “The issue of plastic waste is seen and felt all over the world. I urge all companies, big and small and from all regions and sectors, to join us. We believe the time for action is now. Success will require collaboration and a coordinated effort across many sectors to create sustainable outcomes and impacts.”
Brendan Edgerton, Director of Circular Economy from World Business Council for Sustainable Development said, “Despite the many benefits plastics bring to people around the world, including improvements in living standards, health and safety, and sustainability, unmanaged plastic waste has become a global challenge. We are working to make the dream of a world without plastic waste a reality.”
During the event, the Alliance highlighted an initial set of collaborative projects that reflect a range of solutions to help end plastic waste, such as: partnering with cities to design integrated management systems in large urban areas where infrastructure is lacking; promoting technologies, business models and entrepreneurs to prevent ocean plastic waste; developing an open-source data platform to provide valuable information about the sources, location and formats of plastic waste to help support waste management projects; building collaboration with intergovernmental organizations to identify the most effective solutions; and supporting investment and engagement to capture plastic waste before it reaches the ocean.
Antoine Grange, CEO, Recycling and Recovery of SUEZ Asia, “While our effort will be global, the Alliance can have the greatest impact by focusing on parts of the world where the challenge is greatest—such as Southeast Asia region where more than half of the world’s plastic waste have been found—and by sharing solutions and best practices so that these efforts can be amplified and scaled-up around the world.”
Thailand is fully aware of this global challenge and is taking a proactive approach, such as the government’s Roadmap on Plastic Waste Management for 2018 – 2030. By the end of 2022, Thailand hopes to be free of certain plastic bags, Styrofoam food boxes, plastic straws and single-use plastic cups. The overarching goal is to reduce Thailand’s plastic ocean waste at least 50% by 2027.
Thailand Public Private Partnership for Plastic and Waste Management (Thailand PPP Plastic) is an unprecedented collaboration between 15 organizations from the government sector, private sector, and non-profit organizations that on June 5, 2018 signed an MOU to address Thailand plastic marine debris.
“In 2010 Thailand ranked sixth for global marine plastic debris. With the collaboration of all parties, we can draw up a blueprint to address Thailand’s waste problems in a sustainable manner. And where possible, proliferate this blueprint to other parts of Southeast Asia” said Jonathan Penrice, Asia Pacific President of Dow.
Pictured above (from left to right): Tine Rørvik (Global Director of Circular Economy, Chemicals Business, SCG), Craig Buchholz (Chief Communications Officer, Procter&Gamble), Jim Seward (Vice President, Sustainability, Technology and Joint Ventures, LyondellBasell), Cholanat Yanaranop (Executive Vice President, SCG and President, Chemicals Business, SCG), Antoine Grange (CEO, Recycling and Recovery, SUEZ Asia), Jon Penrice (Asia Pacific President, Dow), and Brendan Edgerton (Director, Circular Economy, World Business Council for Sustainable Development).