And some are even willing to go to war to keep their country from being an international garbage dump.
UPDATE Nov. 1, 2018: Malaysia recently announced plans for a complete ban on plastic imports within three years, as reported by Reuters and the New Straits Times. During that time frame, clean material will only be allowed from the U.S., European Union and Japan, and an import levy will be charged.
According to a report from the China Scrap Plastics Association, detailed by Plastics Recycling Update, Malaysian importers will also have to phase out their use of foreign material in the meantime. Starting the first year, at least 30% of plastic must be sourced domestically. That increases to 40% in the second year and 50% in the third. Though, like in China, there is some question of whether domestic collection and processing infrastructure can be ramped up quickly enough to make the country self-sufficient.
- Leaders in Malaysia have decided to impose an import tax on scrap plastics, according to the New Straits Times and others. After Oct. 23, a tax approximately the equivalent of $3.65 per metric ton will be tacked on to plastic imports instead of the current model of Malaysian processors importing the materials for free.
- The government is also tightening requirements for Malaysian processors to obtain operating permits. The government will collect the names of all companies importing and exporting plastics to check the businesses’ legitimacy, and processors will have to get approval from the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA). MIDA will check with the customs authority to determine the ports’ capacity to receive new material before issuing operating permits.
- The government is also intensifying its search for illegal processors, and will be shutting down at least 24 operations soon.