The use of plastic in the country has increased over the past two decades and has become an alternative to wood and metal due to its light weight and durability. Mr. Humayun Kabir, director of Bangladesh Plastics Ltd., one of the biggest players in the plastics industry, said that there is thus a good chance that the plastics industry will grow here.
Mr. Humayun Kabir, who is also the son of Mr. Morshed Alam, Chairman and Founder of Bengal Group, spoke to The Business Standard about the outlook for the industry.
Since 2005, Bangladesh’s plastics market has grown five-fold. At present, the per capita consumption of plastic in my country is 9 kg.
In Bangladesh, as people’s living standards rise, so does the consumption of plastic. The per capita consumption of 9 kg refers only to household use of plastics, excluding industrial and building materials.
Plastic has become an alternative to wood and metal due to its portability and durability. Plastic is also replacing many other materials.
In terms of building materials, we still use aluminum or MS profiles, but developed countries no longer use aluminum for door and window profiles. PVC profiles are used.
In the future, Bangladesh is also following this path. Bathrooms used to have metal doors, but now plastic doors have replaced them. Even in houses, people use plastic doors instead of wooden ones. In addition, PVC pipes are used in plumbing and plumbing.
Plastic pipes are more durable than metal pipes. It lasts a long time. There is plastic, CPVC or PPR, through which hot water passes without changing the quality of the product.
Bengal Plastic was founded in 1969 in Old Dhaka by my father Morshed Alam. Initially, the company started manufacturing plastic parts and engineering products for jute and textile factories.
After Bangladesh’s independence, Bengal’s business prospered and most of the jute and textile mills in the country were its customers.
So we started making household items. At that time, there were very few companies specializing in the production of plastic household items.
But we face huge competition from other manufacturers in old Dhaka as they sell low quality products at meager prices. We did not compromise the quality of our product, so we had to stop production.
Similarly, we experience diversity. In the mid-1990s, the clothing industry flourished in China. Bengal Plastic then began to produce clothing, accessories and hangers for the industry.
All of a sudden our business started to grow in many ways, so we started exporting. Over the past 10 years, Bengal’s business has quadrupled.
Now we are the second largest manufacturer of clothing accessories. Every day we produce about 2.5 million hangers.
In 1992-93, all beverage companies in Bangladesh planned to replace all wooden crates used to store glass beverage bottles with plastic ones.
Bengal then entered the market producing plastic cases for the beverage industry and containers for industrial use, becoming the sole producer of cases for Coca-Cola and Pepsi.
It was also a good business, and it lasted for about eight years. Subsequently, glass bottles were replaced with PET bottles. Therefore, the need for boxes is reduced.
Then, as part of a plan to keep the machines used to make the boxes running, Bangladesh started producing large plastic items such as chairs, stools, etc.
The demand for these products has also increased significantly. Therefore, we have created a separate department for these products.
Now there are different enterprises producing various products such as hangers, household items, PVC and export goods.
Currently, the main problem we are facing is the energy crisis, including natural gas and electricity. Frequent power outages reduce our productivity.
In the plastics industry, a minute of power outage means an hour of production downtime. The material left in the machine will be damaged. We need uninterrupted power.
Another issue is that the plastics industry requires constant investment to maintain market leadership. However, my country does not have an investment-friendly financing model. We need long-term loans. However, our policy does not support such loans.
Some people try to look down on the plastics industry in the name of protecting the environment. But plastic indirectly helps the environment. Deforestation is decreasing due to the reduction in wood use caused by plastic.
However, if plastics are used efficiently, the environment will not be harmed. On the contrary, everyone wins.
As a manufacturer, we take this very seriously. We have separate processing plants in each plant. In addition, we are building a central recycling facility to recycle all plastic waste – ours and others’.
We are also working hard to build a green factory. We install solar panels in all our factories to generate 2-3 megawatts of electricity. We collect rainwater.
Remarkably, we are the first and only company in Bangladesh to be LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) gold certified as a sustainable, green and healthy enterprise.
We source our plastic waste from distributors on the open market. We pay dealers a commission per kilogram of waste. However, we want to make this process more efficient by developing a system that requires the participation of the state.
If all stakeholders, including consumers, merchants and manufacturers, are aware of plastic waste management, environmental problems can be solved.
At present, since Bangladesh is not yet able to produce plastic raw materials, it must be imported from overseas. Many foreign companies came to invest in the production of raw materials, but all failed. The main reason is the poor quality of gas in the country, since the production of plastic raw materials is highly gasified.
However, a local company will produce raw materials for PVC and PET. I hope the country does it soon.
People buy from Bengal Plastic because we never compromise on quality and safety. We put quality and safety first. We use the appropriate materials required for the product.
We use BPA-free plastic for food containers to keep food from getting contaminated. We also test our products in international laboratories for health hazards. In addition, the raw materials that we bring from our suppliers are also tested in the laboratory.
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Post time: Nov-24-2022