The plastic goods sector, which has tremendous potential to capture a chunk of the global market, will flourish further if a specialized industrial zone and modern recycling system could be established for producing environment-friendly products, according to business insiders.
The country’s plastic goods industry is booming due to availability of raw materials at a cheaper rate, government policy support, manufacturing efficiency and production of diversified goods, they said.Besides, China has moved towards high-tech industries, creating a massive chance for Bangladeshi plastic goods exporters to raise their share in the global market for plastics, expected to reach USD 721.14 billion by 2025, according to a new report by Grand View Research, Inc.
According to the latest statistics of the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB), the export earnings from plastic products in the first 10 months of the current fiscal increased by 23.6 percent over the corresponding figure during the last fiscal.
The export of plastic goods during July-April period of the 2018-2019 fiscal was $100.35 million, against $81.19 million dollar during the corresponding period of 2017-2018, according to EPB data.
Business insiders said Bangladesh has only 0.6 percent shares of the $546 billion global plastic market. The country now manufactures around 100 plastic items and the number is increasing day by day.
They mainly export products especially household items, medicine packs and garment accessories to the US, Canada, European countries, Australia, China, Malaysia, some Middle East countries, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and New Zealand.
According to a new study by Grand View Research, the global plastic market is expected to reach $654.38 billion by 2020.One of the country’s leading plastic goods manufacturers Bengal Group of Industries’ Vice Chairman Jasim Uddin told UNB that Bangladeshi plastic products are gaining popularity in the world market day by day.
“If we had modern recycling system than we could further assist the sector to take a big jump for country’s economy. The use of plastic goods continued to increase, the export of the products is expected to increase more in the years to come,” he said.
“We have huge opportunities to catch the global markets in future. We need policy support from the government. Moreover, awareness should be raised among people so that they don’t throw plastic wastes here and there. A good collection system of plastic wastes will ease the recycling process,” he said.
Bangladesh Plastic Goods Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BPGMEA) president Mohammad Jasim Uddin said they export plastic items to more than 60 countries.
“Most of them are European countries. The products demand is also increasing there. So we can take the opportunity if the government supports us properly.”
“There are 5000 small, medium and large plastic factories in our country where around 12 lakh people are engaged. Revenue worth around Tk 3000 crore comes from the plastic sector,” he also said.
He said as an immediate measure the plastic factories set up haphazardly in Old Dhaka need to be relocated soon. “We have set Road Map-2030 for the plastic sector to turn it into a modern and ‘eco-friendly’ industry. So we demand the government to set up an industrial park in Keraniganj.”
Professor Mustafizur Rahman, distinguished fellow of Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), said although plastic sector has been making some contributions to the country’s economy, its environmental impacts need to be considered.
“Now some countries import our plastic products because they have reduced the items’ production. At some point they can stop import of plastic goods. So we should think of alternatives so that we do not face any problems in future.”