Malaysia takes another step back from plastic scrap

The government of Malaysia, which placed a moratorium on issuing new licenses to import plastic scrap in July, reportedly has stated it will extend that moratorium indefinitely.

A market report from the Brussels-based Bureau of International Recycling (BIR) committee member Steve Wong says a government minister has announced an extension of the moratorium, though exceptions will be made “on imports of quality and homogeneous plastic scrap [that] can be recycled for reuse and [for which] the importer can meet certain conditions.”

An online news article from The Star, based in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, says several government ministers met Oct. 26 and decided to extend the moratorium then.

While Wong’s report indicates existing license holders may continue to import plastic scrap, it also mentions a timetable to completely phase out such imports. “A complete ban on plastic scrap imports shall take effect after three years,” writes Wong, who also is president of the China Scrap Plastic Association.

Manufacturers in Malaysia who consume plastic scrap also “must [now] use 30 percent local plastic scrap while importing the remaining 70 percent, and the ratio of imported scrap will be reduced to 60 percent in year two and 50 percent in the year following,” he reports.

Other policy changes agreed to by the ministers include the source of imported plastic scrap is restricted to the United States, the European Union and Japan; an import levy of at least 15 Malaysian ringgits ($3.58) per metric ton will be charged; and scrap importers must place a deposit for potential charges for violating import regulations.

“While there are only eight factories out of 114 license-holding facilities [in Malaysia] that can meet the import conditions, they also need to comply with 10 new qualification requirements, including the bank deposits,” Wong notes.

The policy enacted is intended to stay in place for three years, after which a review will be conducted to assess progress on the goal of using 100 percent local recyclables as feedstock.

PepsiCo, Loop Industries sign multiyear supply agreement

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Montreal-based Loop Industries Inc. and Purchase, New York-based PepsiCo Inc. have entered into a multiyear supply agreement that will enable PepsiCo to purchase production capacity from Loop’s joint venture facility in the United States and incorporate Loop PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastic into its product packaging by early 2020. Loop PET is made completely from recycled material.

According to Loop Industries, its technology allows no- and low-value plastics to be diverted, recovered and recycled into new, virgin-quality Loop PET plastic. The company’s technology can recycle plastic bottles and packaging of any color, transparency or condition; carpet, clothing and other polyester textiles that may contain colors, dyes or additives; and even ocean plastics that have been degraded by sun and salt into recycled PET that meets U.S. Food and Drug Administration requirements for use in food-grade packaging, Loop says.

As one of the largest purchasers of recycled PET in the consumer goods space, PepsiCo has identified Loop PET as a commercially viable technology to expand the amount of recycled content in its product packaging and to help meet its sustainability ambitions and consumer needs, the partners say in a news release about their agreement.

“Loop’s technology enables PepsiCo to be a leading force in ensuring plastic packaging need never become waste,” says Mehmood Khan, vice chairman and chief scientific officer, PepsiCo. “This partnership represents a step-change that will empower PepsiCo in our drive towards creating a circular economy for plastics.”

“We are very proud to supply PepsiCo with Loop-branded PET plastic,” Daniel Solomita, founder and CEO of Loop Industries, says. “Working with a global food and beverage giant like PepsiCo will further establish the value proposition of the Loop brand and mission to accelerate the world’s shift toward sustainable plastic and away from the traditional, take, make and dispose economy.”

The deal also will include a marketing and communications plan to raise awareness of the importance of recycling, sustainability and the circular economy, the partners say.