The “Rethinking Plastics – Circular Economy Solutions to Marine Litter” project organised its closing event and shared lessons learnt towards a circular economy for plastics in seven countries in East- and Southeast Asia.
On 27 September, the “Rethinking Plastics – Circular Economy Solutions to Marine Litter” project invited to its closing event after 3,5 years of project implementation and shared lessons learnt from its work towards a circular economy for plastics in seven countries in East- and Southeast Asia.
The title ‘Rethinking Plastics – Now and in Future: Navigating towards a Future without Plastic Pollution’ led the way to combine findings and results from the activities as well as to focus on future steps and initiatives needed to reduce marine plastic litter.
Launched in 2019, the project, co-financed by the EU and the BMZ, brought together countries from Asia and the EU to exchange information on policies, business models, best practices, and their upscaling potential to reduce plastic waste leakage into the oceans and strive towards a circular economy for plastics. It focused on topics such as sustainable consumption and production, green public procurement, and improving plastic waste management on land and sea. The project worked with stakeholders from the public and private sector as well as with experts from civil society and academia in China, Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. It combined policy approaches and advice as well as concrete pilot projects and awareness raising campaigns, implemented by partner organisations – all in all 30 pilots and campaigns.
Among the key topics of the project was Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), an approach based on the principle that whoever introduces packaging or packaged goods into the country’s market remains responsible for it. The project contributed to policy development and facilitated exchanges and knowledge sharing. It also worked with ports and fishing communities to reduce waste from ships and fishing vessels. For example, the project worked on Fishing for Litter initiatives and on improving port waste management in five important ports in the region through an assessment of procedures and by introducing, among others, advanced online notification systems to facilitate waste delivery and disposal in ports. In the area of sustainable consumption and production of plastics, the project addressed for example the challenge of reducing single-use plastics in e-commerce, cafés, restaurants and in food delivery.
Overall, ‘Rethinking Plastics’ held more than 70 events, with more than 1,200 people directly involved in planning, consultation or decision-making processes related to waste collection, sorting and recycling, and plastic waste reduction at local levels. The awareness raising campaigns in five countries involved more than 24,000 participants and visitors directly and reached out to more than 5 million people on social media with the message to take action and reduce especially single-use plastics in their daily lives.
All findings, pilot lessons learnt, and publications developed – ranging from policy briefs to infographics and studies – can now be found on the website https://rethinkingplastics.eu/. A results brochure per country is also available.
At the closing conference, the results were shared with some 120 participants in Bangkok, among them Dr. Pinsak Suraswadi, Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment Ambassador in the Royal Thai Government, H.E. David Daly, Ambassador of the European Union to Thailand, the Ambassador of Germany to Thailand, H.E. Mr. Georg Schmidt, Mr. Rémi Lambert, Deputy Head of Mission at the French Embassy to Thailand, and representatives from other European Union Member States as well as online participants from around the region and Europe.
The event documentation including videos on results and voices from the partner countries can be found here.
Link to further materials
Lena Kampe — Key Expert
Rethinking Plastics – Circular Economy Solutions to Marine Litter
Circular economy, plastic waste management, marine litter prevention, plastic reduction, sustainable consumption and production, Thailand, China, Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Singapore, Japan