On 3 September 2021, the Corporate Sustainability Handprint (CSH) Thailand team under the Ecological Balance Dimension organised a virtual workshop on the topic “Goodbye, my unsorted waste” for GIZ Thailand staff. The workshop aimed at providing information on the current situation of waste in Thailand as well as encouraging knowledge sharing and suggesting how to sort your waste properly.
During the workshop, Dr Lunchakorn Prathumratana from the EU SWITCH-Asia: Promoting Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) and Ms Pimpilas Nuntiphon Khoeiram from the Thai-German Climate Programme – Waste (TGCP-Waste) project who are part of CSH Thailand shared their knowledge on several topics. They talked about how everyone can simply sort their waste and explained about the colour code of waste bin where:
Green bin is for waste that can decompose and be converted into fertiliser such as food and garden waste;
Yellow bin is for waste that can be recycled such as glass, paper, plastic and recyclable metals;
Blue bin is for non-toxic waste that takes a long time to decompose and is not cost-efficient to recycle such as sweet wrappers, instant noodle package, plastic bags, foam and foil packagings that are contaminated with food; and
Red bin is for hazardous waste such as fluorescent light bulbs, medicine bottles, batteries, spray paint, pesticide containers and hazardous substance storage.
Apart from providing information, CSH Thailand team provided an opportunity for all participants to express their opinions through a waste sorting exercise together with a proper waste management presentation including simple sorting according to 4 main types of waste and detailed sorting according to its elements and compounds. Recyclable waste such as plastic can be divided into opaque plastic, transparent plastic or it can also be categorised into 7 common types of plastic (PET, HDPE, PVC, LDPE, PP, PS and others). One of the waste sorting examples is water bottle. For simple sorting, it can be discarded in recycle bin, but if go deeper into details, we will find out that the body of the bottle is generally made from PET, its cap is made from HDPE or PP and its label is PVC.
Mr Reinhold Elges, Country Director of GIZ Thailand and Malaysia, stated “Today’s activity is a very interesting activity that will help strengthen knowledge and understanding about a proper way of sorting waste for GIZ Thailand staff. Waste sorting is very important and beneficial as it helps reduce the amount of waste due to recycling process, so we have less waste to be disposed or go to landfills. Moreover, waste sorting helps reduce energy and resource consumption as recyclable waste helps increase income and resource utilisation. I believe this activity will be a good start for highlighting the importance of waste sorting where everyone can apply the knowledge to their daily life. I would like everyone to help sort and separate waste for ourselves and for our world.”
There are 2,274 municipal waste separation sites and waste transfer stations that were commissioned in 2020 (355 of which operated properly while 1,891 sites operated improperly, and the number of waste transfer station were 28 stations)
Municipal waste management cost is approximately 13,000 million Baht per year, but the Subdistrict Administrative Organisation (SAO) can collect waste management fee only 2,300 million Baht per year, with the average waste collection cost 850 Baht/ton and the waste disposal cost 550 Bath/ton (Subject to the type of technology used).
Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) has endorsed an ordinance on service charges for solid waste or sewage management according to the laws on public health 2019 which will increase the fee from 20 to 80 Baht, and it will be effective on 1 October 2021.
5R waste management principle:
Reduce: To think twice before use/buy to reduce the amount of waste we will produce
Reuse: To reuse items instead of replacing them
Reject: To refuse the usage of difficult to decompose (non-biodegradable) products and single-use products.
Recycle: To convert or turn your waste for more creative usage/product
Repair: To repair items instead of turning them into waste
The difference between “Reuse” and “Recycle” is mainly on the methodology. Reuse is basically to use your item again without changing its shape or physical properties such as refilling drinking plastic bottles. While for recycling, the item needs to undergo some sort of physical conversion process turning it into the raw materials and then a new product. For example, selling empty plastic bottles to waste buyers and then they will be sold again to recycling factory. The factory will then transform into small plastic pellets and use them to form a new product e.g., dishwasher container.