Stakeholder Workshop - Closing the Loop: Unlocking an inclusive circular economy approach
In rapidly developing Southeast Asia, the majority of solid waste ends up in landfills or leaks into the environment and is lost to the economic supply chain, causing a serious threat to ecosystems, human health and wellbeing, and public budgets. Countries with fast growing markets and underdeveloped waste management systems in Asia may be responsible for as much as 60 per cent of plastic waste leakage, including Thailand among the top 15 polluters worldwide. Recycling activities and recovery of resources tend to be dominated by the informal sector that depends on revenue from the sale of materials. Although informal waste management, especially of plastics, limits pollution and emissions from landfills, reduces the costs and burdens on government, and provides income opportunities for large numbers of the urban poor, the potential environmental impact of linking informal waste pickers’ activities to formal waste management processes remains underexplored.
In close partnership with Bangkok Metropolitan Authority, the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) Asia Centre and Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO), this city-level workshop in Bangkok brings together public, private and community stakeholders from the informal economy, local authorities, and civil society. The aim is to present preliminary findings of data collection in Bangkok, to deepen understanding of the plastic waste value chain and actors involved, to build partnerships, and to explore opportunities to improve waste management by engaging informal waste pickers and other stakeholders in an inclusive, socially responsible manner. The outcomes will feed into the Bangkok case study and will inform policy recommendations for the Asia Pacific region to support a more circular and inclusive economy that reduces plastic pollution.