Asia Minute: Plastic Bag Ban Postponed in Malaysia

May 24, 2017

Credit Pixabay / cocoparisienne

The use of plastic bags and polystyrene foam food containers continues to be a matter of controversy across the islands. Last week, the Maui County Council voted unanimously to ban the use of polystyrene containers by the end of next year. That same issue is also a political debate across the Pacific. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.


The Malaysian state of Perak has just postponed a ban on plastic bags and polystyrene containers.

Up to now, the government has been phasing in a ban—for nearly a year.

Last June, cafeterias in state buildings dropped the use of polystyrene food containers on Fridays. Six months later, the ban was extended to every day and broadened to include city government buildings.

On June first, the ban was scheduled to take effect for all stores and restaurants in the state, and included plastic bags.

But now the governor says more time is needed to study the situation.

Just as rules on plastic bags and polystyrene vary from island to island in Hawai‘i, in Malaysia the laws are different in various states.

Penang has banned any use of plastic by retailers for several years.

Malacca has banned polystyrene containers and petroleum-based plastic bags for the past year and a half.

Selangor, which includes the national capital of Kuala Lumpur, moved earlier this year from banning plastic bags on Saturdays to banning them every day.

In Perak, many environmentalists say they are disappointed.

One group says it has set up 35 recycling centers around the state since September collecting cans, glass, and more than two tons of plastic.