The Global Plastics En’Treaty: why waste trade to the Asia-Pacific needs to stop

by admin

November 8, 2022 at 05:40:25 AM

Where: Meetspace A, Artotel Thamrin, Jakarta (map link here)
When: 03 November, 2022 at 14:00 – 15:00 Indonesia | 15:00 – 16:00 Malaysia & the Philippines

On November 3, 2022, a press briefing was organised by Alianzi Zero Waste Indonesia (AZWI) and Break Free From Plastic (BFFP) to:

  1. Highlight the harms caused by plastic waste exports across countries: Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines.
  2. Emphasise the need to recognise the role of the global plastic waste trade in causing plastic pollution, directly and indirectly, during the intergovernmental negotiating committee (INC) meetings in November 2022.
  3. Share findings from Nexus3 Foundation’s latest report on plastic waste imports to Indonesia.

To recapitulate, ahead of the Global Plastic Treaty negotiations, organisations fighting plastic pollution, recognise the need to address waste trade issues in Asia Pacific. Plastic waste imports cause serious pollution and threaten the health of local communities across the Asia Pacific. If the world is serious about tackling marine plastic pollution, the open trade of plastic waste from rich and industrialised economies to less industrialised ones must end.

As we build a vision for the Global Plastic Treaty, we need to demand an integrated, holistic systems approach to the entire plastic value chain, from extraction to disposal. The transition to a future free from plastic pollution should allow us to hold accountable those most responsible, while engaging and amplifying the voices of those most impacted.

In addition, you may also quote our panelists, as below:


Yuyun Ismawati, co-founder and Senior Advisor of Nexus3 Foundation, Indonesia

“The improved regulation [on plastic waste trade] has reduced violations that we can observe on the grassroots level, however, government transparency is lacking in the implementation. Past violations, which were administratively sanctioned, left the environment and the surrounding communities burdened with questionable practices of destroying hundreds of containers filled with untreatable imported plastic waste by the violating companies.”

Mochamad Septiono, Program Officer for Toxic and Zero Waste Program at Nexus3 Foundation.

“Moving forward, the Indonesian government should be ambitious in setting the roadmap to massively increase the proportion of domestic recycling to fulfil the national industry demand, especially to boost separated waste collection. The current contamination threshold (2%) should be strictly enforced, and further increased to 0-0.5% contamination (recyclates ready for direct production/recycling process for secondary raw materials). In addition, waste-derived product commodities (RDF/PEF pellets, or in any form) should be prohibited to import.”

Pua Lay Peng, chemical engineer and human rights defender with Kuala Langat Environmental Action Association, Malaysia.

“In recent years, Malaysia has become one of the biggest waste importers. It leaves a trail of pollution, especially from waste plastic since China’s ban on import wastes in 2017. We are suffering the consequences of increasing respiratory system disease and cancer rates. Corruption is one of the reasons why so much waste has been smuggled into Malaysia. This waste has very little benefit. Instead we’re left with refuse material containing harmful chemicals, and many leftover plastics will just be burnt in the incinerator or discarded at landfills. Southeast Asia is not the world’s dumping site. Developed countries should deal with their own plastic waste.”

Fajri Fadhillah, lawyer-researcher at Indonesian Center for Environmental Law (ICEL), Indonesia

“Developed countries must stop exporting plastic waste to Asia Pacific countries. Most practices of these exports are illegal or criminal activities. The importing and exporting countries who have ratified the Convention need to put in forth the sanctions to persons or corporations who violate the convention.”

Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator of EcoWaste Coalition, the Philippines.

“ASEAN as a regional bloc should prohibit all importations of plastic waste. To address the plastic pollution crisis, we further request the ASEAN member states to develop strong plastic reduction policies, including phasing-out single use plastics.”

Media Resources:

Indonesia Waste Trade Update: Focusing on Plastic and Paper Waste in Indonesia, Nexus3 Foundation report

This report provides a summary of the dynamics of plastic waste trade conditions in Indonesia, covering the policy changes, volume fluctuation, trade routes, role of recycling industry, trade violation, and most importantly, recommendations – curated for the Indonesian government, industry & industry associations, think tanks and NGOs as well as the general public.

Waste Trade briefs by The Center to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4 Center), Malaysia

These briefs draw from 40 interviews with government officials, businesses and community representatives, these briefs provide an overview of waste trade in Malaysia.

  1. Good Governance and the Global Plastic Waste Trade
  2. Counting the Costs for Human Rights and the Environment


Waste Trade in the Philippines: How Local and Global Policy Instruments Can Stop the Tide of Foreign Waste Dumping in the Country, Greenpeace Philippines and Ecowaste Coalition

This report investigates the laws, the policies, and the shortfalls that have allowed illegal waste into the Philippines and also “legal” waste for which the country lacks an infrastructure capable of protecting the health of people and the environment.

Sign the #StopShippingPlasticWaste petition

Solidarity Open Letter for the EU Waste Shipment Regulations vote

This is an open call to the European Parliament to ban plastic waste exports outside the European Union in the latest revision of the Waste Shipment Regulations and put in safeguards to ensure waste dumping does not occur within the EU.

If you would like to further interact/interview any of our panelists or need to connect with other subject matter experts in Asia Pacific, please reach out to: 

Devayani Khare, Project Communications Officer – Asia-Pacific
Break Free From Plastic

About Alianzi Zero Waste Indonesia (AZWI)

AZWI is an alliance that currently consists of 10 environmental organizations. AZWI campaigns for the correct implementation of the Zero Waste concept in order to mainstream various existing Zero Waste activities, programs and initiatives to be implemented in various cities and regencies in Indonesia by considering the waste management hierarchy, material life cycle, and circular economy.

About Break Free From Plastic (BFFP)

#breakfreefromplastic is a global movement envisioning a future free from plastic pollution. Since its launch in 2016, more than 2,500 organizations representing millions of supporters  around the world have joined the movement to demand massive reductions in single-use plastics and push for lasting solutions to the plastic pollution crisis. BFFP member organizations and individuals share the shared values of environmental protection and social justice and work together through a holistic approach to bring about systemic change. This means tackling plastic pollution across the whole plastics value chain—from extraction to disposal—focusing on prevention rather than cure and providing effective solutions.