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ERIA's Regional Knowledge Centre for Marine Plastic Debris Hosts Webinar Unveiling Singapore's Plastic Circularity Actions

19 April 2024

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Singapore, 19 April 2024: In the ongoing battle against marine plastic pollution in Southeast and East Asia, collaborative efforts and innovative strategies are crucial. A recent webinar titled ‘Private Sector Initiatives to Reduce Marine Plastics – ASEAN Webinar Series: Toward Plastic Circularity: Good Practices from Singapore’ served as a platform for discussing Singapore's proactive approach to addressing this pressing issue, particularly in light of new laws and regulations aimed at improving plastic management and the role of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR).

Reo Kawamura, Director of the Regional Knowledge Centre for Marine Plastic Debris at ERIA, stated that EPR for plastics has emerged as a prominent policy tool in addressing the pressing challenges posed by plastic pollution across the ASEAN+3 region.

‘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,’ he said in the opening remarks of this webinar hosted by the Regional Knowledge Centre for Marine Plastic Debris, in collaboration with the National Environment Agency (NEA) Singapore, Singapore Environment Council (SEC), and the GIZ 3RproMar partnership program.

Recognising the importance of tailored approaches to EPR implementation, he underscored the Regional Knowledge Centre's role in providing valuable information to support the development of effective EPR programs. With a wealth of resources available on its newly revamped website, the Centre aims to facilitate informed decision-making and foster dialogue on EPR initiatives within the ASEAN+3 Member States and beyond.

Santhosh Manivannan, Director of the Policy Division at the National Environment Agency (NEA) Singapore, provided an overview of Singapore's circular economy strategy. This approach, encompassing a zero-waste masterplan, initiatives such as mandatory packaging data reporting and EPR, and behavioural interventions like plastic bag charges, aims to foster sustainable waste management and drive economic growth. He emphasised the importance of regional collaboration in Southeast Asia to create a broader circular economy market and achieve responsible waste management.

Continuing the discussion, Michikazu Kojima, a Senior Research Fellow on Environmental Issues at ERIA, expanded on the recent rise of EPR in the region.

The webinar highlighted Singaporean private sector and civil society efforts to enhance plastic circularity, including Semula Pte Ltd's innovative recycling business and Pacific International Lines' initiatives to reduce plastic waste in the shipping industry. Additionally, Zero Waste SG's Bring Your Own (BYO) campaign was showcased for its role in encouraging consumers to reduce plastic bag usage.

A representative from GIZ Indonesia introduced the 3RproMar program, focusing on marine plastic pollution reduction and sharing EPR best practices from Indonesia.


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