Retailers and manufacturers to stop handing out plastic bags

Twenty-six major retailers, department stores, and plastic manufacturers in Thailand have agreed to stop giving out single-use plastic bags starting early next year.

“This cooperation will help Thailand leave the list of major generators of waste and sea garbage,” said Varawut Silpa-archa, the Minister of Natural Resources and Environment.

Most Thais have been more aware of the problem scale of dumping plastics and other waste into the oceans. People have witnessed a number of news about negative effects on marine lives overtime, both near and far.

Actively, the government and private industries in Thailand have been taking action. In its role as chair country of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 2019, Thailand proposed and passed a regional agreement on reducing marine debris. Building materials conglomerate SCG and others have vowed to reduce their production and use of single-use plastics by 50 percent within a few years, and eventually eliminate them.

Among those taking part in the new campaign are Central Group, The Mall Group, CP All, Robinson, Bangchak Retail Co, Big C Supercenter, Siam Makro, Index Living Mall, PTT as well as trade associations such as Plastic Industry Club under the Federation of Thai Industries and Thai Retailers Association.

“Consumers must prepare to bring their own bags to carry things. This type of campaign should have been done long ago. We have spent so much time trying to negotiate. At last, we made it,” Varawut said.

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