The Potential of Bioplastics for Malaysian Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)
According to Malaysian Bioeconomy Development Corporation Sdn Bhd (Bioeconomy Corporation), there is potential for Malaysia to be a global bioplastics hub. Bioplastics are plastics materials produced from renewable biomass sources and are more environmentally-sustainable to produce compared to conventional plastic production.
The Malaysian bioplastics industry is still new but the country has the right policies, technology, knowledge, infrastructure, and feedstock to create a dynamic ecosystem for the development of bioplastic.
Supporting the Malaysian Bioplastics Industry
Bioeconomy Corporation’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) notes that government policies such as the 12th Malaysia Plan 2021-2025 and the Roadmap Towards No Single-Use Plastic 2018-2030 have provided strong support for the Malaysian bioplastics industry to grow.
“Furthermore, the abundance of non-food crops and agricultural by-products such as palm oil wastes can act as renewable feedstocks for the production of bioplastic.
“There are also many local universities and research institutions that are carrying out research and development (R&D) in converting agricultural waste into biopolymer or bioplastic,” he says.
He suggested that neighbouring countries like Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand, which are major producers of starch, sugar and biopolymers respectively, could capitalise on Malaysia’s bioresin conversion technologies to produce bioplastic materials.
He also explains that Malaysia’s close proximity to significant bioplastics markets such as China, Japan, and Taiwan makes it even more attractive for the country to be a major producer and converter of bioplastic materials.
Paving the Way for Local Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)
To further develop the Malaysian bioplastics industry, Bioeconomy Corporation has facilitated 25 companies in receiving the SIRIM ECO-Label Certifications for their products.
They also held a seminar themed ‘Developing the Bioplastics Industry SMEs in Malaysia’ to encourage SMEs in adopting bioplastics in their business. The seminar was attended by over 100 participants from the plastic industry including converters, manufacturers, retailers, and traders.
“We aim to increase the number of companies for SIRIM ECO-Label Certifications by 50% within the next two years and we hope the seminar will be the catalyst to achieve this target, in addition to spurring the development of the Malaysian bioplastics industry,” says Bioeconomy Corporation’s CEO.
He hoped that through a better understanding of the science and benefits of bioplastics from this seminar, there will be more growth of local SMEs in the Malaysian bioplastics industry who can penetrate the globally emerging green markets and boost the acceptance of bioplastic products among consumers.