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WEBCAST Problematic Plastics Series: Can Grassroots Action and EPR Law Stem the Tide of Single-Use Plastics in Asia?

Date & Time

Sep. 25, 2020
9:00am – 10:15am
This event will be webcast live

WEBCAST Problematic Plastics Series: Can Grassroots Action and EPR Law Stem the Tide of Single-Use Plastics in Asia?

Most plastic waste leaking into the oceans originates from China and four Southeast Asian countries — Vietnam, the Philippines, Thailand, and Indonesia. 

Among single-use plastics in Asia, small sachet wrappers for food, soap and cosmetics, are one of the most commonly discarded items. While half of all single-use plastic waste in the Philippines comes from sachets, in China and Vietnam, a tsunami of plastic e-commerce and food delivery packaging overwhelms waste collection, disposal and recycling systems. In 2018, Chinese citizens consumed 9.41 million tons of express packaging material, equal to the weight of 130 million adults. Vietnam only recycles 27 percent of its annual 1.8 million tons of plastic waste. Such single-use packaging is often difficult to recycle because of poor quality, food contamination or, as in the case of sachets, the many layers of different materials. 

Speakers will explore how grassroots groups and governments in Asia are starting to come together to identify and pilot policies and practices to improve management of plastic waste and reduce production of problematic plastics.

Miko Aliño (GAIA) will introduce the staggering costs and possible solutions to plastic sachet pollution in the Philippines. Quach Thi Xuan (Pacific Environment) will discuss Vietnam’s new EPR plastic packaging law and how Break Free From Plastic (BFFP) is involved in shaping this legislation. Mao Da (China Zero Waste Alliance) will draw on the 2019 Plastic Free China report to explore the environmental impacts and strategies to reduce online shopping delivery packaging. Nicole Portley (Pacific Environment) will add some commentary drawing on her work engaging grassroots groups in Asia on plastic campaigns.

After initial comments the speakers will take questions from moderator Jennifer Turner (Wilson Center) and the audience. Please direct audience questions to @WilsonCEF on Twitter or to

This is the inaugural meeting of a new Problematic Plastics series launched by the Wilson Center’s China Environment Forum and the Institute of Developing Economies. The meeting series is supported by a grant from the Japan Foundation’s Center for Global Partnership and is part of our joint project: Turning the Tide to Slow Plastic Waste in Southeast Asia. 

Hosted By

China Environment Forum

Since 1997, the China Environment Forum's mission has been to forge U.S.-China cooperation on energy, environment, and sustainable development challenges. We play a unique nonpartisan role in creating multi-stakeholder dialogues around these issues.  Read more

Asia Program

The Asia Program promotes policy debate and intellectual discussions on U.S. interests in the Asia-Pacific as well as political, economic, security, and social issues relating to the world’s most populous and economically dynamic region.   Read more

Environmental Change and Security Program

The Environmental Change and Security Program (ECSP) explores the connections between environmental change, health, and population dynamics and their links to conflict, human insecurity, and foreign policy.  Read more