Message from CEO

The last three years saw a dramatic change in the plastic recycling industry, and the year 2021 marked the beginning of a new era. The concern of plastic pollutions by the general public in recent years is drawing global efforts to reduce and reuse plastics through different means and channels nowadays with the strong supports of brand owners and national policies. On the other hand, the implementation of the Basel Convention rules has reshaped a new landscape in the global supply and demand of plastic recyclables. The rule’s compliance constraints are affecting the adequate supplies of recyclables to the core recycling countries in Southeast Asia may impact brand-owners using PCR materials for their products and packaging for some time.

Notwithstanding the industry’s challenges, Fukutomi is striving to maintain its strong position in the supply chain by broadening the base of its business partners both upstream and downstream and geographical spectra. More importantly, to meet the demand expectations of brand-owners in using recycled content for their products and packaging, they have different milestone commitments. It is a rather challenging task for all the players within the scope, but Fukutomi will chart its way to move forward. I will continue to speak for the industry in different roles for the good of our planet.

Apart from the policy to cut imports in different stages in individual countries in Southeast Asia over the next few years, a major challenge that the recycling industry is facing is the Basel Convention Amendment. This amendment will categorize plastic waste into hazardous waste thereby falling into their regime of controls. The new rules, to be in effect at the beginning of 2021, will restrict the trans-boundary movement of plastic scraps to non-OECD countries and implement measures of “prior notification” against free trade. Plastic scraps will be broadly re-categorized in the forms as shown below:

All in all, the macro changes in the supply-chain of plastic scraps and recycled pellets are perceived to cause a discrepancy in supply and demand in the market and hinder the production planning of brand-owners in terms of recycled contents. Whether the popular countries for product manufacturing can adopt this policy to enable factories to import adequate recycled materials to meet the production needs is yet to be seen.

Fukutomi is fully prepared to adjust to policy and market changes with greater flexibility in sourcing and distributions apart from recycling process. Continued efforts are being made in identifying a suitable location for recycling at the source and partnering with the local recyclers and/or investors.

The use of plastics has been bringing convenience to human for nearly a century, and the consciousness of its pollution to our environment and oceans is gathering steam nowadays. While different stakeholders may have different views, whether policy directions are in the best interest of all parties amid mixed perspectives, is yet to be seen.

Steve Wong
FMBA (Hon), C. Mgr, D.Mgr, PhD (Hon)
CEO, Fukutomi.
Executive President, China Scrap Plastics Association

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