Giant retailers and convenience stores in Thailand have pledged to stop giving plastic bags to customers from January 2020 in a bid to reduce plastic waste.
Varawut Silpa-archa, the natural resources and environment minister said “43 department stores and convenience stores around the country have joined the programme to stop handing out plastic bags”, urging the public to use alternatives, such as recycle bags for shopping.
Companies in the programme include CP ALL Pcl, which operates more than 10,000 7-Eleven convenience stores countrywide and of course the country’s largest retailer, Central Group. ( Please refer to the above list for the retail gaints that participating the programme)
“Convenience will slightly be reduced in order to extend the life of the environment,” he said
Environmental group Greenpeace says about 75 billion pieces of plastic bags end up in the waste each year in Thailand and half of this is from malls, supermarkets and convenience stores, with the other half coming from traditional markets and street vendors.
These bags are part of almost 2 million tonnes of plastic waste produced each year by Thai consumers and Thailand also ranked sixth in the world for generating sea waste.
“This is a good start … I hope this is not just a PR exercise” said Tara Buakamsri, Greenpeace’s country director in Thailand. “The challenges is in the working details in how to measure progress and ensure that the measure is effective in really banning the use of plastic bag.”
Many department stores and supermarkets in Thailand already have their own programmes to cut down on plastic bags.For example, Siam Paragon mall charging 1 baht per plastic bag since July with the intention to reduce plastic waste.
For those who are travelling to Thailand from January 2020 onwards, remember to bring your own recycle bags. Let’s play a part to save the environment !