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Circular Economy in Malaysia: Moving Towards a Sustainable Future

As the fashion industry becomes more aware of its environmental impact, circular economy practices are gaining traction. Circular economy is a system of production and consumption that aims to minimize waste and resource depletion by keeping products and materials in use for as long as possible. Malaysia is one of the countries that is moving towards a more sustainable future through the adoption of circular economy practices.

Malaysia’s Fashion Industry

The fashion industry is an important contributor to Malaysia’s economy. According to a report by the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA), the textile and apparel industry in Malaysia contributed RM 13.1 billion to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2020. However, the industry also has a significant environmental impact. The production of clothing consumes vast amounts of resources, including water, energy, and raw materials. Additionally, the disposal of clothing contributes to the global waste problem.

The Adoption of Circular Economy Practices in Malaysia

In recent years, Malaysia has taken steps towards a circular economy by adopting sustainable practices in the fashion industry. For instance, the country has implemented a textile recycling program called Kloth Cares. Kloth Cares is a joint initiative by the Malaysian Textile Manufacturers Association (MTMA) and the Department of Environment (DOE) that aims to reduce textile waste by encouraging consumers to donate their used clothing instead of discarding them. The program also collects textile waste from the industry and converts it into recycled fiber, which can be used to create new products.

Another initiative in Malaysia’s fashion industry is the use of eco-friendly materials such as organic cotton and bamboo. The production of these materials uses less water and chemicals compared to traditional cotton. Furthermore, Malaysia has also introduced circular fashion platforms such as Rent-A-Dress and Style Theory, which allow consumers to rent clothing rather than buy new ones. This not only reduces waste but also offers consumers affordable and sustainable fashion choices.

Malaysia is also investing in research and development to promote circular economy practices. The Malaysian government has launched several initiatives, including the National Waste Minimization Policy, which aims to reduce waste generation and promote resource efficiency. Additionally, the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) has introduced incentives for companies that invest in circular economy practices.

Challenges Ahead

While Malaysia has made significant strides in adopting circular economy practices, there are still challenges that need to be addressed. One of the challenges is the lack of awareness and understanding of circular economy principles among consumers and businesses. This is where education and awareness campaigns are crucial to promote the benefits of circular economy practices.

Another challenge is the lack of infrastructure for circular economy practices. Recycling and waste management infrastructure are still inadequate in some parts of Malaysia, making it difficult to implement circular economy practices. The government and private sector need to invest in infrastructure to support the circular economy.


Malaysia is moving towards a more sustainable future through the adoption of circular economy practices. The fashion industry is a significant contributor to Malaysia’s economy, but it also has a significant environmental impact. Circular economy practices offer a solution to reduce waste and resource depletion in the fashion industry. Malaysia has implemented various initiatives to promote circular economy practices, such as textile recycling programs, the use of eco-friendly materials, and circular fashion platforms. However, challenges such as lack of awareness and infrastructure need to be addressed to ensure the success of circular economy practices in Malaysia.