DID YOU KNOW: Enforcement & Penalties in Malaysia (2020)
CM ECO 06/03/2020 Biodegradable Packaging Compostable Packaging Did You Know? Enforcement & Penalties 1
Dear Malaysian Business Owners,
At the end of 2019, The Rakyat Post published an article, which highlighted the ban of single-use plastic straws. The first takeaway to note from this article is that single-use plastic bags, polystyrene food packaging as well as single-use plastic straws have been banned effective 1st January 2020.
This enforcement has also been initiated by the Kuala Lumpur City Council (DBKL) effective 1st March 2020 in line with the Malaysia Roadmap to Zero Single-Use Plastics 2030. (Picture below)
Additional points to note on your council enforcement letters are the changes to the terms of your business license, especially within the F&B sector, and it also outlines the requirements for biodegradable-type packaging.
#1 Non-compliant packaging includes single-use plastic straws, single-use plastic bags, and polystyrene packaging;
#2 Compliant biodegradable packaging comes with SIRIM ECO labels; 009:2016 & 001:2018 (as at 1st September 2017) (picture below); and
#3 Businesses are now allowed to charge customers up to RM0.20 for biodegradable-type packaging. (picture below: DBKL notice)
Refer to resource no. 2 at the end of this post for additional rules and regulations for compliant use of biodegradable products and the restrictions around the use of plastic straws within the Federal Territory.
As a result of these changes, the following penalties now apply:
- Businesses risk getting fined up to RM1,000 for non-compliance;
- Risk of loss to deposit rights;
- Businesses risk getting fines up to a maximum of RM2,000, and imprisonment of not more than one (1) year;
- Cancellation of your business license.
In this case, if you haven’t already, we urge you guys to ensure that your business is compliant as soon as you can to avoid burning a hole in your pocket! For an audible version of what we have discussed so far, check out our YouTube video below!
With regards to the movement on enforcement, in my opinion it is a great move forward especially with regards to getting our businesses to make that step in changing for a better future. It’s not perfect but at the very least, we can see that the majority of the businesses that have opted to change and transition have been able to do so and still make ends meet.
I think that DBKL deserves to be applauded for taking this move and has given business owners in and around Kuala Lumpur enough time to manage their expectations and the need for these necessary changes communicated as best as possible, even with grace periods included.
The reality is that although business owners are aware, a good majority have in fact just waited for the final moment to switch over, and as a result since 2018, it has taken us quite a while to pick up the baton in becoming environmentally sustainable.
Despite this, the movement has been growing and there have been businesses that have taken a lead in having a sound strategy put in place that has an environmentally sustainable element and flavour to it.
In this regard, I do feel that it also comes down to each business owner essentially on whether they are wanting to work with suppliers and distributors along with council to make that change a lot more seamless. I believe it can be done, but even more so, I believe in doing so collaboratively through its many facets in order to create that lasting change that is going to make a difference in the lives of our generations to come.
Ultimately, I also strongly believe that business owners that are planning long term can see the benefit of making the switch now, which will contribute over time to the increase of the demand of these products directly affecting the price tag even further over time as manufacturers would then need to purchase raw materials on a bulk basis in order to produce the supply needed to meet the rising need.
If one were to really understand these environmental concerns, then I’d like to also believe, that on top of just working with the many stakeholders across the supply chain, from well known brands or market leaders or just your everyday F&B business, they would go the extra mile to incorporate into their business model and SOPs, policies and requirements around the use of these eco-friendly options.
From providing services/ products to customers that can work hand in hand, allowing customers to BYO takeaway packaging containers/ bags, with the right steps to account for things like cross contamination and hygiene in their work stations to the use of alternative eco-friendly packaging that that results in a reduction of overall waste or even better managed waste into the entire waste cycle. They will show that they are serious about the future.
Without forgetting the other side of the spectrum, I’d like to also note that for businesses that have taken these sustainable measures, or are supporting the cause, the ones who have risen above and beyond for the future, let’s all as customers and contributors to our respective communities all around Malaysia also do our part in acknowledging and supporting them. Because as a business owner myself, I can share with you that it means the world when we know that we are taking the rights steps and are being supported in initiatives that matter for all.
What are your thoughts on these initiatives? Do you know businesses who have made the leap to practicing environmental sustainability? We would love to hear from you guys about these organizations that are making better things happen!
Till next time,