Government Affairs Council: Plastic Waste Management Task Force
On November 26, AMCHAM hosted the first meeting of the AMCHAM Plastic Waste Management Task Force. The event had a turnout of 35 attendees from member companies, who have been taking measures and working on projects to reduce plastic waste in Thailand.
The objectives of the meeting were to be informed of the government policy and campaign on the issue of plastic waste management, share views and information on how AMCHAM as a community can move this issue forward, and formulate
AMCHAM’s concerted plan of action and collective position on this issue as well as strategize AMCHAM advocacy.
The Thai government has released the Roadmap on Plastic Waste Management 2018-2030. AMCHAM members got together to discuss how the roadmap can used as a policy framework to reduce and stop the use of plastics and replace it with environmentally friendly materials. The synopsis of the Roadmap is to reduce and stop the use of plastic and replace it with environmentally friendly materials.
AMCHAM believes this is a huge step in the right direction which requires cooperation from all segments of the society. In response to Government’s Roadmap, AMCHAM discussed forming a plastic waste management task force with the aim to develop a position and organize related activities on this important issue.
AMCHAM’s Executive Director, Heidi Gallant started the discussion by pointing out the lack of knowledge about what can be recycled, and how to recycle. The other main challenges are how to change people’s behavior and set up an effective waste segregation system. AMCHAM members shared views, experiences, ideas, best practices, information, and initiatives regarding plastic waste management, including Dow’s Rayong Model, Indorama’s PPP project, and Diageo’s no more plastic cap seals and bottles project. Members agreed that there is a need to generate awareness, educate, change the people’s behavior, and provide incentives.
It was decided that the platform for AMCHAM future actions should be based on the “reduce – reuse – recycle” model and advocacy should focus on adjusting the government policy and mindset for the better.
Members also discussed some of the effective changes that are being implemented by the Government across the nation. In 2019, three plastic products will be banned. These include plastic cap seals in water bottles, oxo-degradable plastics, and plastic microbeads. By 2021, The use of plastic bags less than 36 microns in thickness, styrofoam food boxes, plastic straws, and single-use plastic cups will stop and by 2027, 100 % of plastic waste will be reusable.
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment has announced a campaign to solve the problem of plastic waste by urging people to start modifying their lifestyle and behavior and use cloth bags or environmentally friendly bags instead of using single-use plastic bags and foam boxes. From January 1, 2020 onward, the leading department stores and big retailers nationwide will stop handing out single-use plastic bags to their customers. According to the EEC Office, the EEC has embraced the Circular Economy model, and has in place a waste management system.
The meeting and discussions closed with a conclusion to start working on the “AMCHAM No Plastics Challenge” campaign. AMCHAM will start publicizing this effort in T-AB, AMCHAM website, and social media with a “No Plastics” campaign along with other AMCHAM members. The next meeting of the Task Force will be in January 2020 to continue sharing new ideas and information.