Seven opportunities in Thailand’s waste industries
Trash to cash – Thailand, the waste, and the law
Thailand’s annual solid waste production reached roughly 30 million tonnes and increases by 600,000 tonnes per year, evenly split between households and factories. Five million tonnes are generated in Bangkok. Only 20% of waste generated by households is recycled annually, compared with 70-75% of industrial waste. Thailand’s waste management plan calls for 75% to be properly managed until 2021.
Beating plastic pollution: Thais use 70 billion plastic bags a year. Thailand’s 23 coastal provinces dump an estimated one million tonnes of garbage into the sea each year. By this, Thailand is the world’s sixth biggest contributor of ocean waste.
The waste problem is imminent especial in the Eastern Economic Corridor. Chon Buri has 29 waste landfills to serve waste generated by Pattaya and other districts. Each day, the landfills treat 3,000 tonnes of waste from Pattaya City.
A brief history of Thailand’s recycling legislation
1979: The Industrial Estate Act governs the powers of the Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand, including enforcement of regulations and taking action on hazardous waste practices within industrial estates.:
1992: The Factory Act authorizes the Ministry of Industry to issue standards and specify methods for the control, handling, and disposal of waste by a factory and to license, permit, and inspect factory operations, including waste management. It also governs the licensing, permitting, and inspection of waste treatment, disposal, and recycling facilities.
1992: The Enhancement and Conservation of National Environmental Quality Act generally applies to industrial and infectious waste management through environmental planning and environmental quality standards and monitoring. It also establishes EIA systems, which apply to high pollution industries and central treatment facilities.
24/06/18: Thailand’s Department of Industrial Works issued a prohibition on further imports of electronic and plastic waste effective immediately, and will be proposing to the Ministry of Industry to issue an indefinite ban on these imports in the near future.
The Ministry of Energy targets to promote energy-from-waste production to 160 MW of power and 100 kilotons of oil equivalent (ktoe) of thermal by 2021. At the end of 2018, the government will open bidding on new waste-to-energy power plants in Chon Buri.
06/03/19: Thailand’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment will propose to the cabinet a total ban on the import of plastic waste into Thailand beginning of 2020. Details.
Plastic Waste Management Roadmap 2030: Reduction of the use of plastic and replacement by environmentally friendly renewable materials.
- 2019: Three types of plastic must be discontinued. They include plastic bottle caps, oxo-degradable plastics and plastic microbeads.
- 2022: another four types of plastic will be discontinued. They include plastic bags with a thickness of less than 36 microns, Styrofoam food containers and plastic straws.
- 2027: 100 percent of the target plastic waste will be recycled.
This is expected to reduce the amount of plastic waste by approximately 780,000 tons per year and save about THB 3.9 million waste management costs per year.
Seven investment opportunities in Thailand’s recycling industries
#1. Waste-to-energy power plants
#2. Plastic waste
#3. Smog and air-pollution reduction
#4. E-waste and hazardous waste
#5. Waste-reducing strategies
#6. Waste reusing schemes
#7. Waste management
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