Thailand To Phase Out Plastic Bags In Retail By 2021
Jan 06, 2020

Thailand kicked off the new year with a ban on single-use plastic bags at major stores, continuing a campaign launched by the government and retailers towards a complete ban in 2021 to reduce plastic waste to which the country is one of the world’s largest contributors, particularly to maritime waste.

As agreed, 75 department stores, as well as convenience stores and other shops with together more than 24,500 branches nationwide have agreed to do end handing out free plastic bags from January 1 and partly replace them with paper bags or reusable bags which can be purchased for a few baht.

Public awareness of the risk to animals and the environment from such waste was raised last year in a series of incidents where animals including a deer and a baby dugong were found dead with plastics in their digestive systems.

“Thailand ranks sixth among the world’s top countries that dump waste into the sea,” minister of natural resources and environment Varawut Silpa-Archa told reporters on January 1 after handing out reusable bags to the public.

The ministry says the country already reduced the use of plastic bags by two billion, or about 5,765 tonnes, last year, in the first phase of campaign to encourage consumers’ voluntarily refusal of plastic bags from stores.