Estimated annual household plastic packaging consumption in Malaysia in 2020, by type (in 1,000 metric tons)
The chart shows significant amounts of consumption of plastic packaging in the Food & Beverage sectors, where demand has increased due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The government imposed lockdowns has caused consumers to order food by delivery while at home and also to demand better and proper packaging as protection against infection.
The downsides to this growth however, is the lack of properly managing of plastic waste and litter from land-based sources. This inadequate infrastructure is generating significant economic and environmental costs, affecting marine life and the wellbeing of societies along Malaysia’s coastlines.
Malaysia recognises that plastic pollution is a serious emerging issue and is playing an active role at the regional level to address plastic debris and is developing a Circular Economy Roadmap to combat mismanaged plastic waste nationally. Malaysia recycled just 24% of key plastic resins in 2019 and is not on track to meet the JPSPN (National Solid Waste Management Department) recycling target of 40% by 2025.
Many of the challenges faced in recycling plastic waste are amplified by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Changes in consumption patterns and low waste collection rates have led to supply reductions for recyclers, while low oil prices have made it cheaper to use virgin rather than recycled plastic.