Industry Ministry will support resource recovery estates

As part of building a greener and circular economy, the Minister of Industry said last week that he will promote a plan to build resource recovery parks at six different industrial estates to reduce waste and pollution and increase recycling.

“The parks will be located in six regions across the country, and the IEAT (Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand) will take charge of this project to determine the direction of the circular economy in the state industrial parks,” said Industry Minister Uttama Savanayana

The government is preparing to officially endorse and promote the circular economy concept as part of Thailand 4.0, the national strategy to develop a more advanced economy, he added. Several government agencies, including the Board of Investment, are collaborating on a master plan and roadmap that will be submitted to the cabinet of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha when completed.

The circular economy is one in which resources and materials are used carefully and maximized to reduce waste, inefficiency, and pollution. Re-use and recycling are key components. Contrary to the concerns of some businesspeople, the circular economy will create jobs while also reducing the environmental price of industrialization, Uttama said.

“The IEAT will also support 450 communities, covering 180,000 people surrounding industrial estates to create new products from waste for commercial purposes,” Uttama said.

Some of Thailand’s leading corporations are already adopting the circular economy philosophy and practices. In June, SCG, a Thai firm that is the largest building materials conglomerate in Southeast Asia, announced several circular economy initiatives it is incorporating into its businesses. They include manufacturing asphalt for roads made in part from recycled glass and bottles.
The company also pledged to cut single-use plastic items by 50 percent.

The Thai government and the public have been rallying to address the issue. Last week, a network of 30 Thai universities announced they had cut single-use plastic items by 41 million pieces so far this year. They include single-use plastic bags, cups, and utensils.

The network was formed in 2016. In May, Thammasat University, a network member and one of the top universities in the Kingdom, banned all plastic bags, straws, and utensils.

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