Locally, industry associations are playing an active role to provide resources and information to its members. Having the right ecosystem is crucial. Otherwise, SMEs may have to source from suppliers abroad to create products that can be taken apart or reused, for instance, which incurs higher costs. “That is currently the main drawback in Malaysia. It is very good that we have a strategic roadmap on plastic waste, but that is just one aspect,” said Phang Oy Cheng, Executive Director of Governance and Sustainability at KPMG Management & Risk Consulting Sdn Bhd.
"It is very good that we have a strategic roadmap on plastic waste. But that is just one aspect. The way our laws treat waste is still mired in the past. Although it was refreshed 10 years ago, it still looks at waste in categories. That is why we have such a proliferation of waste-to-energy or biomass-to-energy projects. It is just talking about one aspect of waste instead of looking at waste in its entirety," she says.
Regardless, there is a business case for SMEs to adopt circular economy models now. That is because resource scarcity risks such as water stress, climate change impacts — including sudden weather changes or flash floods — and fluctuating costs of raw materials which are becoming material risks for companies. It can also lower the cost for companies in the long run.
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