We all know the ‘three R’s’ – reduce, re-use and recycle. But how much recycling actually takes place in Thailand? Do you recycle, and if so how do you go about it? Countries such as America, Australia and Denmark have set new standards in recent years for recycling waste products, but Thailand has been slower to jump on the bandwagon and is only now putting some initiatives into place, both formally and informally.
In 2004, the Thai government decided to implement an environmentally friendly waste disposal policy and enhance the waste disposal capacity of local administrative authorities. It also promised to promote the private sector’s role in research and development for recycling of raw material and utilisation of clean technology. The aim is to reduce by 30% the amount of waste generated within 2009.
Of the recyclable materials that are collected, more than 70% is collected informally. The waste collectors or ‘sa leng’ are the most prominent and easily recognised recyclers, as they commonly use tricycles or rickshaws to collect the waste. Municipal garbage collectors sort and collect recyclables for sale on an informal basis, to supplement their income. There are also several thousand waste pickers or scavengers who collect waste from windfall and sell it as a livelihood.
Currently the materials that are regularly collected for recycling include plastic and glass bottles, food tins and cartons, paper and cardboard. Some of these items are sold to recycling factories and some are used directly to make new products.
Education is an important element in encouraging people to recycle. The Green Island Project on Koh Samui was established in June 2007 and aims to encourage more environmental awareness.
On Phuket, schools, hotels and other institutions are also taking the lead by sorting their own garbage and providing education to employees while doing so.
On a day-to-day basis what can you do to help recycle? Here are four simple ways to get started:
- Don’t accept plastic shopping bags when shopping – take your own re-usable bag.
- Use glass drinking water bottles and make sure they’re returned to the company to be used again.
- Separate foodstuffs and try composting with organic waste.
- In Phuket and Koh Samui there are waste sorting plants where you can take your household waste, which operate 24 hours a day. Contact your local town municipality office to find the plant nearest to you.
This article is provided courtesy of Phuket Villas & Homes as part of the company’s corporate responsibility programme.
Posted under Lifestyle
This post was written by HKT Homes on July 18, 2009