Private Sector Strategies to Implement Plastic Circularity

A successful webinar hosted by ERIA’s Regional Knowledge Centre for Marine Plastic Debris, supported by the National Environment Agency Singapore and the GIZ 3RproMar partnership program, shed light on Singapore’s private sector strategies for promoting plastic circularity. This successful seminar is a testament of the ongoing collaboration between RKC-MPD and NEA, and private sectors in tackling the complex challenge of marine plastic debris.

19 April 2024: A successful webinar hosted by ERIA’s Regional Knowledge Centre for Marine Plastic Debris, in collaboration with the National Environment Agency (NEA) Singapore and the GIZ 3RproMar partnership program, supported by the Singapore Environment Counsil (SEC) shed light on Singapore’s private sector strategies for promoting plastic circularity. The event, titled ‘Private Sector Initiatives to Reduce Marine Plastics: Toward Plastic Circularity: Good Practices from Singapore,’ brought together practitioners from across the public and private sectors, as well as civil society to discuss innovative solutions and best practices in tackling plastic pollution. More than 100 people from ASEAN region and beyond watched the event and participated in the Q&A session. 

Director of the Regional Knowledge Centre, Mr Reo Kawamura, opened the seminar highlighting the growing importance of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) in plastic circularity and the crucial role of the private sector. “As discussions around EPR intensify, it has become evident that EPR is not a one-size-fits-all blanket policy applicable to ASEAN countries with different socio-economic fabrics. Its introduction and adoption therefore require careful understanding of its necessary pre-conditions. On this note, the Regional Knowledge Centre for Marine Plastic Debris of ERIA is happy to provide useful information, hopefully conducive to meaningful EPR program development for plastics in the region.’ 

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Mr Santhosh Manivannan, Director, Policy Division, National Environment Agency (NEA) Singapore, outlined Singapore’s strategy for a circular economy in his opening remarks. The strategy focuses on a three-pronged approach: policy direction through a zero-waste masterplan, initiatives like mandatory packaging data reporting and EPR, and promoting behavioral change with nudges like plastic bag charges. Mr Manivannan further emphasized the importance of regional collaboration in Southeast Asia to create a larger circular economy market, share expertise, and achieve responsible waste management, ultimately fostering a transition towards a circular economy and new green economic growth. 

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Mr Michikazu Kojima, Senior Research Fellow on Environmental Issues of ERIA, shared the recent EPR movement in the ASEAN region, exploring both challenges and opportunities. The webinar highlighted efforts undertaken by the Singaporean private sector and civil society in improving the plastic circularity. Semula Pte Ltd, a dynamic environmental start-up shared their business of converting end-of-life plastics into recycled products, successfully preventing them from going to landfills. Pacific International Lines shared unique insight on how as an individual company, but also as the shipping and logistics industry, they are striving to reduce plastic waste generation. Finally, representing civil society, Zero Waste SG showcased their Bring Your Own (BYO) campaign, which helps affiliated companies to nudge their customers to reduce the usage of plastic shopping bags. Lastly, a representative from GIZ Indonesia introduced the 3RproMar program, a regional program to reduce marine plastic pollution, and shared best practices in EPR from Indonesia. 

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This successful seminar is a testament of the ongoing stakeholder’s engagement spearheaded by the Regional Knowledge Centre for Marine Plastic Debris of ERIA in tackling the complex challenges associated with marine plastic debris. 

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