Day 2 of SEA of Solutions - featuring Plasticity

Plasticity is the global forum for practical, progressive thinkers who are excited about the future of plastic and the planet.​ This one-day intensive collaboration of business leaders and industry influencers was invited to be part of SEA of Solutions 2019, to showcase informed eco-optimism, exciting new circular economic thinking and ground-breaking technological advances.​

Plastic circularity today: The macro, micro and continuing disruption

The first session at Plasticity@SEA of Solutions provided insights into the reality of the plastic value chains in Asia as well as into business commitments in making plastic production and management clean, safe and sustainable. Business representatives shared the societal concern over the damage of plastic pollution to the environment and to people, and showcased a range of ways to solve the plastic pollution problem. The session featured business models which bring consumers along, recycling options which ensure quality and safety - particularly for food packaging - and the engagement of the informal sector in the circular plastic management.

Innovative technology and economic incentives were highlighted as an indispensable part of solution-creation. For example, scaling-up recycling, will only happen when the true cost of landfilling is accounted for and fully recognised. Many innovations and schemes require collaboration from non-business communities, and the backing of policies to encourage segregation and collection of waste. Together this will transform industry and public behaviors and perceptions, promoting plastic circularity.

“The industry can help educate the consumer that alternatives made from recycled materials are possible and safe.”

Doug Woodring, Founder, Plasticity and Ocean Recovery Alliance

"We talk about waste every day, but if we can recycle, then it is not waste.”

Steve Wong, MD, Fukutomi Ltd. / Chair, China Scrap Plastics Association

“When it comes to food packaging, safety is non-negotiable and sustainability is a demand. We need to be active to find solutions.”

Oscar Wang, Deputy Director, IQTC

“We know the world has a packaging problem. Our vision has to be part of the solution.”

Belinda Ford, Public Affairs, Comms and Sustainability Director, Coca-Cola ASEAN

“There are three different streams of behaviour that need to change; littering, usage and sorting/recycling.”

Sumangali Krishnan, Chief Business Officer, GA Circular

Pioneering our future: Innovation takes inspiration and perspiration

This session showcased business models to drive systems change towards a circular economy. Experience shows that functionality, scalability and cost effectiveness are key factors for effective and efficient business innovation, which creates value in sustainability. Successful business ventures require strategic partnerships across stakeholders, strong education and community engagement - as well as investments in innovative technologies. Plastic producers and retailers have a responsibility to create circular supply chains and invest in lifecycle models that sustain product value. Where the use of plastic is unavoidable or truly useful, innovation is needed to transform product composition, increase recycled materials, and design for recyclability.

In the face of the ubiquitous demand for convenience and the urgent need for sustainability in Asia, innovation in alternative products can relieve pressure on the environment. But this requires a simultaneous shift toward adequate waste collection and processing systems. Solutions are most cost-effective, feasible, and scalable, if they build on existing infrastructure and production processes whilst addressing fundamental product flaws - such as using magnetic coding to separate labels from PET bottles, which is compatible with existing magnetic separating systems. On the one hand, consumer demand can create a push for recyclable and recycled packaging. On the other hand, the plastic industry needs to seize the opportunity to combine product innovation and circular business models with partnerships, to co-create value in a circular economy network, raise awareness and spark behaviour change.

From a market perspective, speakers identified sustainability as an outside-in approach that was not inherently appealing to businesses and called for industry-to-industry dialogue to drive innovation, leverage investments and enable collaboration to deliver system-wide change. Discussants showed that early movers who find entry points to markets and build strategic partnerships can demonstrate solutions that are viable, scalable, and add value.

“If we define the problem well, we can come up with solutions together.”

Vivekanand Sistla, R&D Director, Beauty & Personal Care, Unilever Thailand

“The inverse relationship between sustainability and convenience can be reconciled through innovative solutions.”

Pei Kang Ng, CEO and Co-Founder, Tria Bio

“In order to be relevant, we need to be innovative in driving sustainability.”

Suracha Udomsuk, Chief Technical Officer, Siam Cement Group (SCG)

“Innovation means creating solutions that do not compromise between recyclability and marketability.”

Ravish Majithia, Founder & Materials Scientist, Magnomer

“Technology needs to go hand in hand with education, science and community engagement.”

Pete Ceglinski, CEO, The Seabin Project

Plasticity Prize

Plasticity Prize - Four Entrepreneurs | Four Pitches | Five minutes to impress. And YOU decide who wins!


Chris Oestereich, Full Circle Filament (FCF) *WINNER* - A social enterprise startup to source recycled filament for 3D printing from industrial and informal waste processes, based on a scalable business solution and scientific evidence.


Aleyda Santos, GAIA initiative - A social enterprise that promotes a system approach to circularity

Yameen Mohamad, Heng Hiap - Practical solutions for traceable ocean plastics: A track and trace programme for recycled plastic; a QR code to share the journey; and living coral ambassadors for the ocean

Stephanie Stubbe, AniPal, Australia - Animal ambassadors for change to inspire the pet owner community to adopt environmental and sustainable solutions building on recycled plastic alternatives, recycled ocean plastics, and innovative animal products.

Johann Tranchell, Sri Lanka - A new eco-friendly vision for plastic production to move toward recycling, invest in alternative biodegradable products, and invest in education

Making circular the default: Embedding circularity for a circular economy

In this session, speakers shared solutions to plastic pollution covering the opt-out option on packaging (nudge) in e-commerce, revenue-generating community based recycling programmes, plastic recovery and recycling programmes for specialized items such as fishing gear. The audience understood that locally viable solutions depending on plastic type/item are necessary since no one-size-fits-all. Local buy-in and innovation are necessary to develop efficient and scale-able waste management systems. Making the plastic value chain circular in any case needs support and action from all sectors. While the industry have the research and expertise which can be applied in local, national and global environments, they need consumer demand for sustainable products as well as governmental policies and local community engagement supporting the shift.

The audience really warmed to the interactive and creative session on Future Hypothetical States where options for solving plastic problems were explored through a role play.

The numbers game: Money makes the world go round and the circle circular

This session called for a shift away from financing models driven by the highest returns on investment, toward sustainable and reasonable investments that catalyse change. Speakers identified the persistent undervaluation of plastic as a core flaw of the plastic (mis)management system, which is hindering investments. They called for a systemic approach that internalizes the cost of waste management and pollution impacts in the price of plastic products and for demonstration of economically viable solutions to leverage meaningful investments for change. Speakers noted that private investment alone cannot fundamentally change habits and unsustainable systems, but this needs to go hand-in-hand with public efforts to improve education, raise awareness, shift policy priorities and regulatory frameworks, and make strategic use of sanctions and incentives for change.

Investments are lacking in the plastic industry and there are inadequate collection systems to supply high quality feedstock for 2nd-life markets. However, blended finance mechanisms have the potential to de-risk investments and favour innovation. Philanthropy and non-business donors could play a key role in demonstrating solutions that may appear less appealing to corporate investments in the current finance climate. Moreover, investment by smaller companies at the local level could initiate change while boosting local economies and developing smaller-scale collection systems.

“I see a huge change in behaviour of the young generation - let‘s find inclusive models to harness young game changers.”

Regula Schegg, Managing Director Asia, Circulate Capital

“We see a willingness to build an investment ecosystem and develop a pipeline of ventures to finance sustainable solutions.”

Simon Baldwin, Director, Second Muse

“Policies that address systemic problems will be part of the solution.”

Singh Intrachooto, Asst Prof Kasetsart University Faculty of Architecture

“The public sector has to be involved in finding the solution and industry can guide them.”

Richard Jones, Senior Vice President, Indorama Ventures PC

“Plastic is a fantastic material, but it has a dark side – and we need to fight the dark side together.”

Helmut Schmitz, Head of Public Affairs, Der Gruene Punkt, The Green Dot

The open forum

So far, 330 of 600 registered participants from 45 countries with 115 speakers in 25 sessions and 25 exhibitors have joined SEA of Solutions 2019. 'Solutions with Science' day highlighted that collecting and communicating knowledge on plastic pollution will inform decision making and behaviour change. Jointly, we can strengthen coordination in this increasingly crowded space, building on existing mechanisms and frameworks and deepen our understanding of urgent issues and impacts. Now is the time to move from incremental actions to transformational change, from pledge to impact. Plasticity@SEA of Solutions has shed a light on innovative business models which engage consumers and the informal economy. Plasticity has called for locally viable, scalable and cost-effective solutions that reconcile sustainability and marketability. It is clear that industry-to-industry dialogues, strategic partnerships, new technologies and education are all part of the solutions.