Thailand to ban all plastic waste imports in 2025

Thailand has taken a significant step toward reducing its plastic waste by announcing a complete ban on plastic waste imports from January 1, 2025. The decision, made by the Thai Cabinet today, is part of the country’s ongoing efforts to tackle the escalating problem of plastic waste, which is contributing to environmental degradation and posing a threat to human health.

Meanwhile, this year, for the 14 recycling plants in the tax-free zone, the amount of waste imported must not exceed their combined production capacity of 372,994 tonnes. In 2024, the amount of plastic waste allowed to be imported for these plants will be reduced to half of their combined production capacity.

Importers who wish to bring plastic waste to areas outside the tax-free zone will need to show evidence that the imports are necessary due to a shortage of supplies to meet their production demand. The imported plastic waste must be used as raw material in the production process without needing to be cleaned, Thai PBS reported.

Deputy Government Spokesperson Tipanan Sirichana stated that the strict regulations and the eventual ban on the import of plastic waste aim to protect the environment and control pollution to safeguard the health of the people.

Thailand has been among the top countries struggling with plastic waste in recent years.

In 2021, the Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI) said that Thailand had an average of 1.03 tonnes of mismanaged waste each year and that nearly half of it (0.31%) flows into the sea.

This week, a new graphic has visually portrayed how Thailand is one of the top 10 ocean plastic polluters in the world due to mismanaged waste. The graphic shows a pie chart made up of plastic waste, labelling each country’s amount of ocean plastic waste in metric tonnes. Surrounding the circle of waste is the ocean.

The government has been implementing measures to reduce plastic use and promote recycling, including banning single-use plastics in certain areas and launching campaigns to encourage the use of cloth bags and reusable containers.

Last week, it was reported that Thailand‘s use of plastic bags plunged by over 148,000 tonnes in about three years. The Pollution Control Department (PCD) launched campaigns in 2018 to cut the use of single-use plastic and plastic shopping bags, in cooperation with the Environmental Quality Promotion Department (EQPD).

The Pollution Control Department (PCD)’s director-general Pinsak Suraswadi said the campaigns to reduce plastic bag use are being carried out under the roadmap from 2018 to 2030 with two major goals: replacing plastic bags with environmentally friendly containers, and reducing plastic garbage by 100% by 2027.

Environment News

Tara Abhasakun

A Thai-American dual citizen, Tara has reported news and spoken on a number of human rights and cultural news issues in Thailand. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history from The College of Wooster. She interned at Southeast Asia Globe, and has written for a number of outlets. Tara reports on a range of Thailand news issues.

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