Zero Waste Businesses in the Global South: a thriving trendide
It is clear that the zero waste movement is currently gaining momentum in the Global North as terms such as ‘circular economy’, ‘reusable packaging’ and ‘plastic-free’ are becoming buzzwords.
However, far less attention has been given to the development of this movement in the Global South, particularly in Southeast Asia, an area that is more often in the news in relation to the crisis on global plastic waste trade than any of their groundbreaking advances on the road to zero waste.
Indeed, since China closed its borders to plastic waste imports, major plastic waste exporters, such as the EU, are diverting their waste exports to low-income Southeast Asian countries, like Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam.
Yet, these countries are also experiencing a rapid growth of zero waste businesses. Their emergence is innovating the regional sustainability agenda by reshaping the way materials and products are designed and managed, minimising waste and mitigating impacts to people and the environment.