COVID's Impact on Waste Management and Recycling with Tam Nguyen

COVID's Impact on Waste Management and Recycling with Tam Nguyen

Interseed Team
Interseed Team

As we are still making our way through the pandemic, we felt that this throwback to a talk from last year is still relevant today.


GA Circular's mission is to create a world without waste by driving the transition towards a circular economy in Asia. They do this by enabling industries, investors, government and multilateral agencies and global foundations to unlock business opportunities from fast-growing streams of food and packaging waste.


Tam Nguyen from GA Circular, who is the Head of Operations, shared with us on the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on waste management, recycling companies, and the informal workers.

Impact on essential informal workers

Informal workers deal with a lot of the waste that we produce especially with the influx of the "pandemic plastics". Despite their important input, they are given little financial support and PPE which affects their survival and safety.

Impact on Waste Management and Recycling Companies


For the recyclers, for the most part, as it is not deemed as an essential service, they were forced to close which affects their revenue and survival.

As the recyclers are not deemed as essential, many were forced to close. Even before the pandemic, they've always had a challenge recycling due to the challenging economics. The big issue is that once they shut down, it is very difficult to regain back to the original capacity quickly.

For those that are still in business, sadly there is little demand for them to make operations feasible due to the restrictions on import/export.

How to support them?

GA Circular has been speaking with Unilever, and Coca-Cola to create demand. They aim to make sure these brand owners stick to their global targets. This is to help the informal workers are able to survive.

Tam also recommends that we reach out to local municipalities to make sure that these informal workers get through this period through donations and drive demand somehow.


"We really need to make sure this value chain survives. They're extremely important to this overall goal to reduce waste in this driving of the circular economy"

Check out the knowledge huddle throwback here!



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