EUROPEAN businesses asked the government to back measures reducing plastic waste and offer incentives for recycling to promote investment and facilitate the post-pandemic economic recovery.

A circular economy model, which minimizes waste in the design process and through reuse and recycling of manufactured products, will help reduce pollution and promote a healthier and more productive population, EU-ASEAN Business Council (EU-ABC) Executive Director Chris Humphrey said in an online interview Tuesday.

The council cited a report from the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia saying that the adoption of circular economy models could bring about economic growth of $324 billion and create 1.5 million jobs in Asia by 2025.

EU-ABC recommends domestic waste collection and reuse, adding costs to plastic waste to discourage their use, and regulations for waste collection.

Mr. Humphrey said that such moves could help the Philippines attract more investment.

“Absolutely, as long as the government will place the right policies and for industries to do so, and that means encouraging things like setting up recycling, maybe some incentives for recycling. It will mean changing policies around single-use plastics as well.”

He said that a circular economy model is key to post-pandemic recovery.

“What’s really changed is the degree of lockdowns that we have seen right across the region and indeed globally allowing us to stop and think and do a bit of a reset of how we approach business and how we approach investments in the longer-term… we need a way that’s gonna be more inclusive, is gonna protect the environment we live in, but will still allow for sound economic growth.”

Waste from single-use plastics like surgical masks and plastic cups has been on the rise due to the pandemic, the World Economic Forum said last month.

Mr. Humphrey recommended environmental education for private households, corporates, and the government.

“Hopefully things will change and get better as we start dealing with COVID-19… online shopping and e-commerce will become a lot more prevalent as well, but it doesn’t mean these things can’t be done in a more sustainable and environmentally-friendly way. It doesn’t mean we can’t promote the idea of recycling.” — Jenina P. Ibañez