Minister vows to end plastic waste imports by 2025

It is time for Thailand to make its plastic waste import ban real. That was the vow of the Minister of Natural Resource and Environment as he unveiled a three-phase plan to end imports of plastic and electronic waste by 2025.

Only businesses that use plastic scraps in their manufacturing processes will be able to import them after 2025, he said.

“Thailand must not be a dump site for plastic waste,” added Varawut Silpa-archa, Minister of Natural Resouces and Environment. “By the end of the next three years, we will not allow any import of plastic scraps from around the world.”

Thailand and several countries in the region have been ranked among ocean plastic polluters in the world. Since then, Thailand has taken a leading role in the Southeast Asian region in tackling this problem. It has forged agreements among the 10 member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on stopping pollution and beginning to clean up the seas.

While Thailand shares some of the blame for plastics pollution, a significant amount of the plastics originate in developed countries on other continents. For years, they have been shipping their plastic and electronic waste to countries, including Thailand, where waste management companies had struck deals to dispose of it.

However, some companies were not actually “managing” the waste. They were simply dumping it in landfills or the oceans instead of using methods to salvage and recycle as much of it as possible and treating the rest instead of dumping it.

The government, which had been unaware of these practices, launched a crackdown on those companies, and many are now out of business.

Manufacturers with a demonstrated need for plastic scraps will still be able to import them.

“We need to protect our country,” Varawut said. “This is a significant step to make our country clean from plastic waste.

Photo courtesy of