By the end of 2019, Thailand will ban three types of plastic: cap seals, microbeads and oxo-degradable plastics, which are plastics that fragment over time and eventually become microplastics. The Land of Smiles aims to eliminate single-use plastics, to turn the tide on environmental damage and create a greener economy.
By 2022, four other types of single-use plastics will also be banned: lightweight plastic bags less than 36 microns thick, styrofoam food boxes, plastic cups and plastic straws. Athisit Chainuwat, the Assistant Government Spokesman, said that the goal is for Thailand to use only recycled plastics by 2027, and that plastic waste will be converted into a source of fuel. All these goals are contained in the Plastic Waste Management Road Map 2018-2030.
According to the Department of Environmental Quality Promotion, Thais generate as much as 1.14 kilograms of garbage per head per day, contributing to the 27.04 million tonnes of waste per year. One person uses about eight plastic bags a day – or 500 million plastic bags per day for the whole nation. Most of the plastic waste ends up in the oceans, accounting for 16% of garbage in the seas.
Aside from government actions, leading private-sector companies such as building materials conglomerate SCG also contribute in reducing plastic use. They are lowering their use of single-use plastics and adopting the principles of the circular economy – reduce, reuse, and recycle – to take a greener approach to business and development.