Plastic recycling company launches global headquarters in Singapore

Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin (left) speaking to Archwey CEO Sjoerd Fauser at the launch of the company's headquarters on July 21, 2022. ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

SINGAPORE - Sustainable materials engineering company Archwey officially launched its global headquarters in Singapore on Thursday (July 21).

With a mission to rid the world of virgin plastics, the Netherlands-based holding group turns recycled plastic into products ranging from hangers to pill bottles.

Virgin plastic refers to new resin produced from natural gas or crude oil.

This comes as global plastic production amounts to some 400 million tonnes a year, yet only about 12 per cent are incinerated and around 9 per cent recycled, according to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

The bulk of plastics is either disposed in landfills or released into the environment, including the oceans. The majority of plastic pollution in the oceans stems from just 10 rivers, eight of which are in Asia.

Without meaningful intervention, flows of plastic waste into aquatic ecosystems are projected to nearly triple from around 11 million tonnes in 2016 to around 29 million tonnes in 2040, according to the UNEP.

To tackle the issue, Archwey aims to double the amount of plastic waste that it cleans from 32,500 tonnes to 65,000 tonnes by the end of next year, said the company's chief executive Sjoerd Fauser at the company's headquarters in Raffles Place.

To do so, the group plans to create about 100 more green jobs, primarily in Singapore, in areas including finance and sales, he said.

Archwey's manufacturers are predominantly in South-east Asian countries such as Thailand and Vietnam, which is one of the reasons why the company has set up its global headquarters here, said Mr Fauser.

Plastics used by the company mainly come from four of the world's most polluted rivers - the Yangtze, the Hai River, the Pearl River and the Yellow River - all in China.

The world is shifting towards recycled material, with recycled plastic about 20 per cent cheaper than virgin plastic, partly due to rising oil prices as a result of the Russian-Ukraine war, Mr Fauser added.

The firm currently manufactures products for its companies - Arch and Hook, Shieldler and PlasticBean - in more than 20 countries. These are then supplied to businesses such as Nike, Under Armour and Levi's.

The company has yet to take in plastic from Singapore, but is looking into eventually setting up a manufacturing facility here, said Mr Fauser.

Plastic waste remains an overwhelming concern for Singapore as space runs out in its only landfill.

In 2020, the island-state generated 860,000 tonnes of plastic waste, of which only 4 per cent was recycled, said Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan Jin, who attended Thursday's launch.

He said: "Having companies like (Archwey) here is important, as being part of a green economy, the technology that they bring and the collaboration between the Government and companies like them makes a lot of difference both locally and beyond our shores as well."

Apart from government and business initiatives, Singaporeans also have to be proactive about reducing plastic waste, he added.

Said Mr Tan: "If we are very conscious about consumption of plastics, we can reduce its usage."

He added that plastic will invariably be consumed in some shape and form, given its widespread use, but that consumers can choose to dispose the material in a way that allows it to be recovered and recycled.

Said Mr Tan: "The circular economy can only happen if, apart from businesses and the Government, all of us individuals can participate in it."

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