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Addressing the Waste Issue in Asia

“Get Wasted: Waste to Wealth” - how can we turn the problem of plastic waste into a business opportunity?

On Wednesday 1st March, Hubber - Gone Adventurin hosted an event entitled “Get Wasted: Waste to Wealth”. The first of a series, this session’s theme was plastics and the circular economy. Two speakers, Laura Allen from Gone Adventurin, and Kia Jie Hui from Forum for the Future, explained the problem of plastic waste ending up in landfill and in our oceans, before demonstrating the importance of rethinking the problem, turning a social concern into a business opportunity.

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Eight million tonnes of plastic end up in our ocean every year, explained Laura to an eager audience. And this is a serious problem – because plastic is used fast, but can take up to 150 years to decompose. Even once it does decompose, the particles continue to contaminate the water. 85% of mismanaged waste comes from Asia – so it is vital that we come up with a way to solve this problem.

Their proposal is to work towards the circular economy. Currently, we have a linear economy: take, make, waste – we take resources, turn them into products, and once we’ve used the products, we throw them away. Circular economy would mean that instead of dumping things once we’ve used them, we find a way to reuse them, by breaking them down to use as raw materials again.

Laura finished by laying out the key steps we can take in Asia to help: labelling products with recycling information, improving education about recycling and creating incentives to recycle, and finally introducing legislation and improving the waste management infrastructure. By taking these steps, people, companies, and governments will change their mindsets towards a reduce, reuse, recycle mentality.

Kia Jie Hui, from Forum for the Future, finished up the presentation by demonstrating the importance of turning the challenge of waste management into an opportunity. Forum for the Future collaborates with companies and governments in order to form networks for knowledge and resource sharing. It is only through these networks that companies are able to reach their full recycling potential. She stressed the fact that everyone has a role to play in the circular economy, from the resource providers to the end consumers. Only together can we solve the problem of waste management.

If you’re interested in this topic, don’t forget to sign up for the next session – Get Wasted: Plastic on our Plates – on April 4th, 18:30-21:00.

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Writen By: Nicole du Plessis
Photo Credits: Gone Adventurin

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