Government policy support, fiscal incentives, and infrastructure key to local production focus” – Swaminathan
Global trend shifting towards homogenous and recyclable packaging materials
Below are excerpts of an interview with B. Swaminathan, the CEO and President of Smart Expos & Fairs India (Pvt) Ltd, we delve into his perspectives on the transformative potential of Circular Economy and Sustainable Growth within Sri Lanka’s plastics industry. Swaminathan sheds light on how these concepts intertwine, the industry’s response to growing environmental concerns, and strategies for propelling local plastic manufacturing and exports towards a sustainable future.
Q: What is circular economy and how does it relate to the plastics industry?
A: Circular economy is a concept that draws inspiration from nature, aiming to create a closed-loop system for resources. In this model, materials are continuously reused, reducing the need for new resources and minimizing waste. Unlike the linear economic model where products are made, used, and discarded, the circular economy maximizes resource efficiency. In the plastics industry, this means recycling and reusing plastic materials to extend their lifecycle and minimize environmental impact.
Q: How will Sri Lanka benefit from the circular economy?
A: Sri Lanka stands to gain significantly from embracing the circular economy. By efficiently managing precious resources, the country can reduce imports, lower CO2 emissions, and save foreign exchange reserves. Encouraging the development of recycling technologies for plastics and other materials, as well as supporting resource-efficient technologies and products, can further bolster the circular economy’s benefits
for the Sri Lanka.
Q: How does the plastic industry address growing consumer demands and environmental pressures?
A: Producers are taking responsibility by investing in recycling facilities, adopting recyclable packaging materials, and educating the public on proper waste disposal. Additionally, promoting source segregation of plastics waste facilitates efficient recycling. These actions are aimed at meeting consumer demands while aligning with environmental concerns raised by various groups.
Q: Are there regulatory frameworks to support local plastic manufacturing for export?
A: Yes, regulatory frameworks are established through extensive discussions involving producers, brand owners, NGOs, and other stakeholders. These frameworks provide a common ground for all stakeholders, fostering responsible and sustainable growth in the local plastic manufacturing sector for export purposes.
Q: How important is innovation for local plastic manufacturers seeking to expand exports?
A: Innovation in materials, processes, and design is crucial for local plastic manufacturers looking to enhance their export capabilities. The global trend is shifting towards homogenous and recyclable packaging materials, and it’s essential for Sri Lanka to keep pace with these changes to remain competitive in the international market.
Q: How can the local plastic industry align with global sustainability trends for export growth?
A: The local plastic industry will naturally align with global sustainability trends. Industry associations, like the Plastic Recycling Institute (PRI), will play a pivotal role in driving this change and ensuring that the industry’s growth remains sustainable and responsible.
Q: How can stakeholders assess plastic material quality and value?
A: Stakeholders can evaluate plastic material quality and value through established industry standards and certification processes. These mechanisms ensure that the materials meet specific criteria for performance, safety, and sustainability.
Q: Can you elaborate on the opportunities for local plastic manufacturing?
A: There are immense opportunities to manufacture plastics products locally. With available technologies and the potential to create jobs, the country can transition towards more self-sufficient production, reducing dependency on imports.
Q: What influences the decision to locally manufacture plastic products?
A: Factors such as machinery availability, government policy support, fiscal incentives, and infrastructure play a pivotal role in the decision to locally manufacture plastic products. A supportive environment encourages cohesive and sustainable local manufacturing.
Q: How can local manufacturers enhance quality and competitiveness in the international market?
A: Investing in energy-efficient and high-production processing machinery is essential. Such investments not only improve product quality but also enhance energy efficiency and overall productivity, making the industry more competitive globally.
Photo Caption – B. Swaminathan