The plastic goods sector, which has tremendous potential to capture global market, will flourish further if a specialised industrial zone and modern recycling system could be established, said business insiders.
They also said, 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.
Besides, as China has moved towards high-tech industries, Bangladeshi plastic goods exporters have the chance to raise their share in the global market for plastics.
Export earnings from plastic products is expected to reach USD 721.14 billion by 2025, says UNB citing a new report by Grand View Research, Inc.
According to the latest statistics of the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB), export earnings from plastic products in the first 10 months of the current fiscal (FY19) increased by 23.6 per cent.
The export of plastic goods during July-April period of the FY19 was $100.35 million, which was $81.19 million dollar in the corresponding period of FY18, according to EPB data.
Business insiders said Bangladesh has only 0.6 per cent shares of the $546 billion global plastic market.
The country now manufactures around 100 plastic items and the number is increasing every day.
Bangladesh mainly exports household items, medicine packs and garment accessories to the US, Canada, Europe, Australia, China, Malaysia, the Middle East, 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.
Bengal Group of Industries' Vice Chairman Jasim Uddin said Bangladeshi plastic products are gaining popularity in the global market gradually.
"If we had modern recycling system then we could further assist the sector and take a big leap for country's economy," 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," added he.
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 million people are engaged. Revenue worth around Tk 30 billion comes from the plastic sector," he also said.
Mr Jasim said 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."
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