Realising the potential of the waste PET sector in Thailand and beyond

The way we recycle is a dead end. Every year, more than eight million metric tonnes of plastic goes into the ocean. According to McKinsey & The Ocean Conservancy (2015), over 50 per cent of land-based plastic waste leakage comes from just 5 countries: China, Indonesia, The Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand. To make things worse, starting January 1st, 2018, China stopped importing plastic waste in an effort to recycle more of their own. Until then, China was the world’s largest plastic recycler and a major importer of recycled PET from Thailand. Plastic waste is relatively new to Thailand and there is a limited culture of separation at source. Dirty plastic waste from dumps, streets, rivers and mixed garbage cans provide waste pickers with just 3 USD a day on average under poor working conditions. Existing solutions were only dealing with a small portion of the plastic waste and now the problem is escalating.