Study explores development of Asia’s circular economy for plastic

Circular Economy

A new study from The Circulate Initiative, in collaboration with Anthesis Group, has uncovered insights about the plastic waste value chain across 12 “wastesheds” in India, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam.

The report defines “wastesheds” as a geographical region having a common solid waste disposal system or designated by the governing institutions as an appropriate area to develop a common recycling program.

The report, Mapping Local Plastic Recycling Supply Chains: Insights from Selected Cities in India, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam, focuses on the countries because their “lack of infrastructure” has resulted in “mismanaged plastic leakage” into oceans, sustainability consultancy Anthesis says.

The objectives of the study were to understand the local plastic recycling supply chains, understand the economics for recycled plastic at each stage of the local plastic supply chains and the key factors influencing prices and identify where interventions to improve supply chains could be made.

The research highlights potential opportunities to scale existing circular economy solutions.

The sustainability consultancy continues that the report is the “first-of-their-kind” to provide detailed localised assessments, identifying the key actors, infrastructure and influencing regulations that can determine interventions to improve existing systems and mitigate plastic pollution.

The research highlights potential opportunities to scale existing circular economy solutions, such as the formalisation of informal workers who are playing a “critical role” in plastic waste management and recycling.

Anthesis says that in megacities, like Delhi or Bangkok, or cities with developing plastic recycling supply chains like Makassar and Da Nang, informal workers remain an integral part of the value chain.

The study focused on plastic in municipal waste generated primarily by households and small businesses. Anthesis says this waste stream is where many local environmental issues are occurring and there is the potential to scale up plastic waste collection and recycling.

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