Plastic bags on their way out

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Re: Plastic bags on their way out

Post by windwalker »

fountainhall wrote:I mostly get them from Hong Kong as I am there 3 or 4 times a year and at least two of the supermarket chains sell biodegradable liners. There is one close to the hotel I stay at. A pack of 30 costs around HK$24 - about Bt. 100.
Thanks fountainhall, I will see if any are available locally in Pattaya.

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Re: Plastic bags on their way out

Post by Gaybutton »

I'm all in favor of cutting plastics use in favor of using biodegradable materials instead, although I don't see how just once a month is going to put much of a dent in the problem.

Along with the pollution, a lot of plastic waste ends up clogging the drainage systems, significantly contributing to the flood problems every time there is a heavy rain. Much of it ends up on the beaches too. No one likes to sit on a beach surrounded by plastic bags, empty styrofoam food containers, and all kinds of other waste.

The list of cooperating retailers includes Makro. Makro never used plastic bags in the first place, but the stores are always crowded. People do manage to cope.

In any case, at least Thailand is making a start.

See also: ... l/30359859


Shops pledge to cut plastic bag use

by Pitsinee Jitpleecheep

December 5, 2018

As many as 40 retailers and store operators have entered an agreement with the Mineral Resources Department not to provide plastic bags on the fourth of each month.

The deal, effective Tuesday, was signed by small and large retail chains including Tops, Robinson, Big C, Tesco Lotus, Makro, Foodland, Watsons, Central Marketing Group and OfficeMate.

They all pledged to support activities aimed at reducing the use of plastic bags. Retailers also committed to launching promotional campaigns and educating consumers on the environmental dangers of single-use plastic.

Waste from plastics amounts to roughly 2 million tonnes or 12% of all rubbish in Thailand each year. Of that total, just 0.5 million tonnes is recycled, according to the Pollution Control Department.

The department reports that about 45 billion plastic bags, 6.76 billion food containers and some 9.75 billion single-use plastic cups are used every year.

Phattaraporn Phenpraphat, vice-president for marketing at Central Food Retail Co, the operator of Tops Supermarket chains, said the company began promoting the reduced use of plastic bags over the past decade.

In July of this year, the company started a campaign to stop providing plastic bags to shoppers on the third of every month at its 217 stores across the country.

"With this scheme, we can reduce the use of plastic bags by about 500,000 plastic bags on each day that it runs. Since July, as many as one million customers refused plastic bags from our stores," Ms Phattaraporn said.

The company has also provided a speedier Green Check Out counter, a line in which plastic bags are not is available for shoppers, since October this year.

It will continue to offer this service at Tops Superstore and Tops Daily stores next year. Moreover, it is considering offering biodegradable plastic bags to customers.

Tops uses about 200 million plastic bags a year, but Ms Phattaraporn voiced confidence that the figure would decline sharply.

Voralak Tulaphorn, chief marketing officer at The Mall Group, said The Mall has been using Oxo biodegradable bags at its Home Fresh Mart chains for 10 years under The Mall Think Green project and also now uses shopping bags made of recycled paper at all its retail complexes.

The group uses about 100 million bags at its chain stores, of which 10% are biodegradable bags and 90% plastic. It also offers paper bags to clients.

"With the implementation of The Mall Think Green project, we can reduce the use of plastic bags by over 20%," Ms Voralak said.

Last year, it used 4 million less plastic bags and expects to save at least six million this year by adding more days where they are not provided as standard.

Surakit Arayarangsi, head of back of house operations at Robinson Plc, said the company is finding new methods to reduce the use of plastic products at its complexes across the country.

It will also expand the use of bags made from recycled plastics at all stores as well as ask vendors at its food courts to use biodegradable food containers. ... ic-bag-use

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Re: Plastic bags on their way out

Post by Gaybutton »

Hopes on ‘greener’ plastics to turn tide on battle for environment

By Nophakhun Limsamarnphun

February 02, 2019

Plastics that have been labelled as biodegradable by industry have become more popular and affordable due to increased public awareness of environmental issues resulting from the many kinds of damage caused by single-use plastic bags, food containers, straws and other non-compostable items.

According to Pralong Damrong-thai, director-general of the Pollution Control Department, the Kingdom’s garbage increased 1.64 per cent over the past year, to a total of 27.82 million tonnes in 2018.

The main causes were an expansion of urban areas and the increase in migrant workers, tourists and in household consumption.

Of the total volume of garbage, 34 per cent or 9.58 million tonnes were properly separated and recycled while 7.36 million tonnes of garbage were not correctly managed.

Overall, Thailand churned out some two million tonnes of plastic garbage in 2018 with only 500,000 tonnes recycled. The remaining plastic garbage has become a major environmental issue, as it is for the most part not compostable and poses hazards to both people and marine life.

Micro and nano-plastics are a major source of pollution, affecting both fresh and salt water environments and the organisms living within.

Experts have also warned that tiny bits of these plastics have also entered the human food chain, with unknown future health consequences.

In a bid to help reduce plastic garbage, the Cabinet earlier instructed the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment to launch a nationwide campaign, and for all state agencies to ban single-use plastic bags, foam containers and water cups.

According to Apilux Tiwananta-korn, communication and CSR department manager of Thantawan Industry, a producer of compostable plastics, the prices of green plastic products are now much lower than before, helping to boost the popularity of less environmentally hazardous products.

Thantawan Industry has launched the Sunbio brand of compostable T-shirt bags and straws made from corn, tapioca and sugarcane, which they claim are 100 per cent compostable within 180 days.

The demand for compostable bags and straws has been growing rapidly, especially in retail and restaurant sectors where consumer sentiment for environmental protection is relatively strong.

Previously, prices of compostable bags and straws were as much as three times that of the large majority of products that are made from petrochemicals and remain in |the environment for hundreds of years.

Now, the price difference has shrunk, bringing the products within reach of businesses that want to switch to “greener” products.

Supermarkets, department stores and other retail outlets are among the major users of non-compostable plastic bags, and so some operators have encouraged customers to use textile bags instead of single-use plastics.

Some customers are asking that restaurant chains replace single-use plastic straws with stainless steel foldable straws that can be re-used for a long time. Another choice is for restaurants to switch to compostable straws and supermarkets to carry compostable T-shirt bags.

The private sector has also suggested that the government grant tax incentives to help boost the demand for “green” plastic products by lowering their price, thus reducing the amount of single-use plastic garbage in the country.

Concerned about sea pollution and the deaths of birds and turtles, the European Parliament in October 2018 voted to ban the plastics.

The ban, which comes into effect in 2021, includes straws, plates, cups and cotton buds which experts |said are then consumed by marine life.

The European Union also plans to reduce plastic packaging for food by 25 per cent by 2025 while 90 per cent of beverage bottles must be collected and recycled by the same date.

The Thai government has yet to consider similar measures to check the phenomenal growth of single-use plastics.

Thus the cheapest and most convenient option continues to pose a growing environmental and health challenge to people and marine life. ... l/30363398

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Re: Plastic bags on their way out

Post by Captain Kirk »

Ahead of the game here, I've been carrying the reusable bags for five years or so. We do need to get rid of the plastic stuff. Here in the UK they're trying to go further than the bags. Looking at stuff like a levy on coffee cups to encourage folk to bring their own, plastic straws are also getting the bums rush. I'm in favour of all of it but it still won't make but a small difference. Climate change is happening and will continue to. Doubt we'll be seeing the worst of it and those who are affected will no doubt soon adapt.


Re: Plastic bags on their way out

Post by fountainhall »

I'm not sure most of us know how extensive the plastic problem actually is and how difficult it will be to solve it. This vdo shows how one man's initiative in Mumbai has mobilised volunteers to clear 12,000 tons of plastic from one Mumbai beach in one year. Yet further up on another beach, you cannot see any sand for plastic. Good on the kids who turn up to help, not because they have to but because they want to.

Education and paying collectors for recycling are desperately needed. But of course, like the pollution in Thailand and the polar vortex over the USA, governments will not do much until far too late. Thank goodness there are some good people around.

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Re: Plastic bags on their way out

Post by Gaybutton »

Thailand still sealed in plastic

By Pratch Rujivanarom
The Nation

June 03, 2019

With World Environment Day being observed on Wednesday, major retail chains Tesco Lotus and Central Group have pledged to further reduce plastic use in their operations, and on a permanent basis.

The announcements drew praise from some environmentalists, but Greenpeace said the level of commitment remained inadequate to have the needed effect on Thailand’s plastic-waste nightmare.

A fundamental shift in consumer behaviour was needed, it said.

Tesco Lotus corporate affairs director Salinla Seehapan said the chain would eliminate all “expanded polyethylene” packaging by the end of this month and switch to recyclable materials instead.

Tesco Lotus will also continue efforts to reduce the use of plastic bags, she said.

“We have been gradually reducing expanded-polyethylene packaging in all 2,000 outlets since last year and we are proud to announce that, by July, none of our stores will use it,” Salinla said.

“From now on, our food products will be packed in recyclable thermoforming plastic plate, which could reduce the use of expanded polyethylene by more than 400 tonnes a year.”

Cheap and lightweight, expanded polyethylene foam packaging remains in wide use for wrapping food, electronic and electrical goods, furniture and more, but it is considered non-biodegradable. Scientists say it will take thousands of years to fully break down.

Its lightness actually contributes to the waste problem, since the wind carries off discarded pieces, littering streets and often ending up in the sea.

There it can break up into micro-plastic easily swallowed by marine life, thus contaminating the food chain and posing a health hazard to consumers of seafood.

Salinla said Tesco Lotus would maintain its policy of banning plastic bags on the fourth day of every month in a bid to encourage customers to bring fabric bags or their own plastic bags to reuse.

The chain will also open a sixth plastic-bags-free outlet on Koh Chang in Trat by the end of the year where the bags are banned year-round.

Central Retail Corp president Nicolo Galante had earlier announced its ambitious goal to become Thailand’s first plastic-bags-free retailer by the end of this year.

Beginning on World Environment Day, Galante said, all of the chain’s outlets except its food markets would stop automatically placing purchases in plastic bags. Customers will have to specifically request a plastic bag or bring their own.

Greenpeace country director Tara Buakamsri said he was pleased to hear the two retail giants were taking stronger measures to reduce plastic waste, but warned that it’s still not enough to meet the national goal of abandoning expanded polyethylene food packaging completely by 2022.

Every retailer and every consumer must adopt more intensive measures to cut down on the use of all kinds of single-use plastic, Tara said.

“The big companies’ CSR [corporate social responsibility] campaigns alone cannot end plastic pollution,” he said. “The key to solving the problem is changing consumer behaviour, and Thais are heavily addicted to plastic.

“So we should focus on lessening their reliance on single-use plastic by fostering different behaviour and a fresh mindset.”

The Plastic Institute of Thailand estimates that, in 2015, more than 2.048 million tonnes of plastic were used in product packaging and more than 476,000 tonnes were used to make plastic bags.

Rutchada Suriyakul Na Ayutya, director-general of the government’s Environment Quality Promotion Department, said every Thai was generating 1.15 kilograms of waste a day on average through reliance on single-use plastic.

The result is more than 2 million tonnes of plastic waste annually.

And only 500,000 tonnes of the waste was being properly managed and recycled each year, Rutchada said. ... l/30370446

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Re: Plastic bags on their way out

Post by Dodger »

I'm 100% in favor of using biodegradable materials whenever possible. Stopping or minimizing the use of plastic bags at a super market is a nice symbolic gesture to project "Thinking Green" but in all reality it doesn't even begin to scratch the surface.

Over 90% of all the plastic that's contaminating our environment has its roots in the manufacturing industries who not only make products out of plastic but use plastic wrapping materials almost extensively for shipping and product preservation. Half the food products that gets dropped in those plastic bags at the supermarket are wrapped in plastic or similar synthetic packaging materials which are bad for the environment.

I see these kind's of gestures as a good thing for the mere fact that it raises public awareness of a serious concern, but until they clamp down on the use of plastic in the manufacturing industries we'll never come close to hitting the target.

My boyfriend and I consume an average of 4 liters of drinking water a day. We installed a water purification system which now saves me the task of going to 7/11 every day and also reduces the amount of plastic which goes into our garbage by 1,408 plastic bottles per year. I guess we're doing our best to contribute but it's hard to buy anything that's not wrapped in plastic.

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Re: Plastic bags on their way out

Post by Gaybutton »

The problem could be solved by banning plastics and switching to biodegradable products instead. That might make things more expensive, but that's better than polluting ourselves to death.

Old habits die hard: Stores try to cut down on plastic bags, but shoppers remain stubborn

The Nation

Sep 08. 2019

After a rescued dugong died from ingesting plastic bags, Thailand has been on high alert about plastic pollution. This topic is being widely discussed among Thai netizens, who have been suggesting many measures, including controlling the use of plastic bags at supermarkets and convenience stores.

Upon asking CP All – the owner of 7-Eleven convenience stores – about their measures and results, it said they have enforced a strong policy to reduce the use of plastic over 10 years. Its campaign, “reduce plastic bags every day, you can do it”, has saved the company the cost of 646 million plastic bags, and this money saved will be donated to hospitals for medical equipment. As of August 29, CP All said it has donated Bt126 million.

Tesco Lotus began campaigning for customers to “say no to plastic” since 2015 and even introduced a variety of incentives such as reward points. As of August this year, Tesco had implemented a policy of not giving out plastic bags for purchases of one or two items at all its 1,800 hypermarkets.

According to Amazon Café, the number of clients who bring their own cup for coffee has risen from around 1.8 million in January 15 to 2.2 million by August 15. In about seven months, Amazon coffee shops were reportedly able to reduce the use of 16.7 million plastic cups, averaging at 2.2 million cups per month

However, when we monitored the Amazon Café near Interlink Tower during lunch break for an hour, we discovered that not a single person had brought their own cup to the coffeeshop. This is even though staff insisted that 20 to 30 regular clients brought their own cup for a Bt5 discount.

We also wanted to see if the behaviour of shoppers has really changed.

So, on August 31, we decided to count the number of customers at Tesco Lotus and 7-Eleven who rejected plastic bags. The test at Tesco Lotus (Seacon Square) ran for an hour from 12.45pm, and we found that 453 shoppers still asked for plastic bags, while only 29 either rejected a plastic bag or used their own cloth bag.

During the hour, we discovered that on average, individual shoppers used one or two plastic bags, while a family of four averaged at eight to 10 plastic bags. There were eight shoppers who used both plastic bags for wet products and cloth bags for dry products.

Another test at a 7-Eleven opposite Central Plaza Bangna for an hour from 10am showed that 27 customers still demanded plastic bags, while 23 people who bought either cigarettes, bottled water or coffee rejected plastic bags. Only three people were seen bringing their own bags.

After learning about our tests, Tesco Lotus announced on September 2 that all express checkout lanes at 200 of its hypermarts will become “green lanes” and will not give out plastic bags. It said its goal is to close the loop on packaging, not to just limit single-use plastic bags.

Though it is not yet clear if the measure will work, the company is obviously taking a first step towards a better environment.

The government recently announced that by the end of this year, Thailand will stop producing three types of plastic – microbeads, cap seals and oxo-degradable plastic. It also aims to stop single-use plastics by 2022.

Though the joint effort by the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry and the supermarket network has reduced more than 2 billion plastic bags or 5,755 tonnes of plastic valued at Bt400 million since July 21, 2018 to August 31, 2019, experts doubt if this is enough to end the pollution.

Anusorn Tamajai, dean of Economics Faculty at Rangsit University, said that the government must come up with both short and long-term measures to tackle the pollution problem, and suggested the introduction of pollution tax.

Though many conservation organisations and related government agencies have suggested that the state impose “green” or “pollution” tax to tackle the problems of air and plastic pollution, there has been no clear message on the subject from the government.

Another suggestion is to impose the “polluter pays” principle, in which the producer of the pollution must cover the cost of damaging people’s health or the environment.

This policy has proved to be successful in many countries. Ireland was one of the first countries to levy a tax on plastic bags in 2002 and has managed to reduce the consumption of single-use plastic bags by 90 per cent, generating US$9.6 million (Bt294 million) for environmental projects.

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Re: Plastic bags on their way out

Post by Gaybutton »

I'm glad to see Thailand starting to do something about the plastics problem. Just buy a shopping bag and bring it with you when you go shopping. If you're coming to Thailand for a holiday, pack a shopping bag in your luggage or buy one when you get here. They are readily available and very inexpensive. Whether they still do or not, I don't know, but some stores were giving them out free.

A few days ago I was in a local grocery store. When I got to the cashier I was told this is a no plastic bags day and I had forgotten to take a shopping bag with me. There was a small pile of empty cardboard boxes right behind the cashier, for people like me who either didn't know or had forgotten to take a shopping bag. So, I took my groceries home in a small cardboard box.

This only scratches the surface in dealing with the plastics problem since disposable plastic is used in so many other ways. But at least it's a start.

Thai Environmental Minister announces 26 major retailers will stop handing out single use plastic bags in January of 2020

By Adam Judd

September 7, 2019

The Thai environment minister has announced a major agreement from large retailers, plastic manufacturers and department stores to stop handing out single-use plastic bags to customers. The new program will start next year.

Over the past year several large retailers have come up with various promotions to reduce the amount of single-use plastic bags handed out to customers but they’ve been more of a PR stunt than a real attempt to cut down on the huge amounts of plastic waste generated by these companies, such as not handing out plastic bags on a single day of the week or putting up signs that they do not give plastic bags, when, in fact, they do.

Minister Varawut Silpa-Archa said the Environment Ministry invited scores of Thai partners to join the ministry’s campaign to reduce the use of single-use plastic bags.

“This cooperation will help Thailand leave the list of major generators of waste and sea garbage worldwide” He stated to the press.

Among the big names were Central Group, The Mall Group, CP All (owners of 7Eleven), Siam Makro, Robinsons, Bangchak Retail, Big C Supercentre, Index Living Mall and PTT, as well as trade associations such as the Plastic Industry Club and Thai Retailers Association.

These partners have vowed to stop giving out single-use plastic bags to customers starting January.


“This type of campaign should have been done long ago. We have spent so much time trying to negotiate. At last, we made it.”

From next January customers will have to bring their own bags to carry goods from these stores.

Family Mart and 7-11, two of the largest users of plastic bags, are included as their parent companies have agreed. ... y-of-2020/

Retailers to stop handing out plastics

7 Sep 2019

Giant retailers, plastic manufacturing titans, and department stores reached an agreement on Friday to stop handing out single-use plastic bags to customers starting early next year.

"This cooperation will help Thailand leave the list of major generators of waste and sea garbage," Varawut Silpa-archa, the environment minister told a press conference on Friday.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment had invited scores of partners yesterday to join the ministry's campaign to reduce the use of single-use plastic bags.

These partners represent giant retailers, major department stores, and titans in plastic manufacturing and trade associations.

Among the big names were Central Group, The Mall Group, CP All Plc, Robinson Plc, Bangchak Retail Co, Big C Supercenter Plc, Siam Makro Plc, Index Living Mall Plc, PTT Plc as well as trade associations such as Plastic Industry Club under the Federation of Thai Industries and Thai Retailers Association.

These partners have vowed to stop giving out single-use plastic bags to customers starting January.

"So, consumers must prepare to bring their own bags to carry things. This type of campaign should have been done long ago. We have spent so much time trying to negotiate. At last, we made it," he said.

A campaign like this shows that Thailand, which is ranked sixth in the world for generating sea waste, is attempting to reduce plastic waste.

It is estimated that Thais use 45 billion single-use plastic bags per year.

Of this number, 13.5 billion -- about 30% -- is generated from department stores and 24-hour convenience stores.

Meanwhile, another 30% of plastic waste comes from mom-and-pop shops and the rest from street vendors and traditional wet markets.

The environment minister said cooperation from these retail titans and department stores can help to reduce single-use plastic usage by 30%.

Meanwhile, by the start of 2022, a ban imposed on Styrofoam food packages and single-use plastic items, including lightweight plastic bags, straws and cups will also come in effect.

The ban is part of the government's roadmap on plastic waste management for the 2018-2030 period.

Apart from a ban on plastic food packages by 2022, the masterplan also sets a goal to have all plastic materials and waste in Thailand recycled by 2030.

In a related development, the environmental ministry said it is drafting a law that would govern the reduction, reuse and recycling of plastic materials and waste.

If adopted, this item of legislation will become the first law on waste reuse and recycling.

Part of the law will require garbage producers to bear responsibility in separating waste into different groups for recycling. ... t-plastics

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Re: Plastic bags on their way out

Post by Gaybutton »

I'm starting to see signs in stores announcing that as of January 1 they will no longer supply plastic bags. Many of these stores are selling inexpensive fabric shopping bags, so finding shopping bags should be no problem.

I have not seen anything to indicate whether any of the stores are going to supply alternatives, such as paper bags, biodegradable bags, or anything else. But since I see so many fabric shopping bags becoming available, three guesses what you're probably going to have to use.

Be prepared to bring your own shopping bag whenever you go shopping in Thailand starting January 1.

I understand styrofoam food containers are also on the chopping block, but I'm not sure when that will go into effect or what the vendors will use as alternatives.

I'm in full favor of this. While this will only scratch the surface of the plastic pollution problem, at least it's a start and a step in the right direction. I have no problem with a little inconvenience to help solve the problem. We'll all get used to and become accustomed to supplying our own shopping bags soon enough. I've also seen people with shopping accessories on rollers, similar to luggage. That could be a big help with heavier loads.

Regarding things such as trash can liners, has anyone spotted biodegradables for sale anywhere? I haven't found any.

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