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Thailand’s big retailers will stop handing out plastic bags in January 2020

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

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 from 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.

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”

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.

“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’s estimated that Thais use 45 billion single-use plastic bags per year.”

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

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