Plastic recycling drops to 37pc


Staff Reporter :
Experts emphasise the urgent need for increased investment and infrastructural development in waste management, given the concerning decline in plastic recycling rates from 51 percent to 37 percent in Bangladesh. They warn that this decline could adversely affect the export potential of plastic goods to Western countries.

These observations were shared by experts during a seminar titled “CE to Enhance the Export Possibilities of Plastic Goods,” jointly organised by the Bangladesh Plastic Goods Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BPGMEA) and the British Standards Institution (BSI).

The seminar took place at the BPGMEA conference room in the city on Tuesday.

The experts underscored that the drop in waste management efforts poses significant challenges, not only for environmental sustainability but also for the country’s economy.

They highlighted the importance of maintaining high recycling rates to ensure the continued competitiveness of Bangladesh’s plastic goods in international markets, particularly in Western countries.

Additionally, the experts stressed the need for collaborative efforts between government agencies, industry stakeholders, and international partners to implement effective waste management strategies.

This includes investment in modern recycling facilities, the promotion of sustainable practices, and the adoption of international standards for plastic production and recycling.

The seminar also aimed to address crucial issues and strategies for Bangladesh to export plastic products to the UK and Europe.

In her key note paper, Dr. Jane Gilbert, Circular Economy Expert and British Standards Institution (BSI), emphasised promoting a national action plan on circular economy, achieving sustainable development goals, and working towards the prevention, reduction, and elimination of plastic pollution.

She also underscored the need for promoting sustainable production and consumption of plastics through product design and environmentally sound waste management, including through resource efficiency and circular economy approaches.

“We need a systemic transformation to achieve the transition to a circular economy.


The global economy is now only 7.2 percent circular, and it’s getting worse year on year, driven by rising material extraction and use,” Gilbert said.

She further said that the plastics industry shows promise with huge growth potential in the domestic market and the opportunity to grab a share in the global market.

“After LDC graduation in 2026, Bangladesh will have to adopt international standards for goods and services to enhance exports,” she added.

BPGMEA President Shamim Ahmed said, “As the country develops, the use of plastic will increase, and to reduce the use of plastic, we need innovation in plastic management properly.”

He also said that investment and infrastructural development are required for waste management.

According to him, currently 37 percent of mismanaged plastic is being recycled in Bangladesh, and the recycling process will be strengthened further.

In expanding the circular economy, he emphasised increasing competition, taking on new market opportunities, expanding products, ensuring the ensuring the security of resource sources, and increasing reputation.

The experts at the seminar gave valuable insights into the challenges facing Bangladesh and the steps needed to facilitate their exports.

These include economic development, trade policy, sustainable growth, and capacity-building initiatives and exports.

Bangladesh banned single-use plastic bags in 2002, setting a remarkable example in the fight against plastic pollution. However, the ban is rarely followed due to a lack of implementation and enforcement.