Thailand is taking a big step to tackle plastic waste, and it’s all about incentives. The country’s Ministry of Finance has teamed up with the Ministry of Industry to announce a new program that offers a 25% corporate income tax reduction for businesses that buy biodegradable plastic products between 2022 and 2024.
This move is aimed at encouraging companies to make the switch and will reduce waste in the process. Industry Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit said that the program also supports the government’s bio-, circular and green (BCG) economic model. BCG has been declared a national agenda item by the current administration.
The push for biodegradable products in industry also promotes manufacturing techniques that add value to products while also having minimal impact on the environment.
It’s no secret that businesses play a huge role in plastic waste, and the government is targeting companies that use a lot of plastic products, such as shopping mall operators and retailers. The Director-General of the Office of Industrial Economics stated that to take advantage of the tax reduction, business operators must buy biodegradable plastic products from manufacturers certified by the Ministry of Industry.
So far, the ministry has certified seven companies. They have granted 72 licenses for biodegradable plastic products like single-use bags, garbage bags, ziplock bags, and plastic tubes.
The program comes as Thailand is ranked among the top 10 worst marine plastic debris polluters in the world. The kingdom recycles just 25% of the approximately 2 million tonnes of plastic waste it generates annually. The government banned single-use plastic bags in 2018, but the campaign was affected by the country’s lockdown to contain Covid-19, which led to a boom in food delivery services and more plastic bag usage.
The government has also set a goal to make Thailand a bio hub in ASEAN by 2027 and the development of biodegradable plastic materials is part of this plan, along with utilising biochemical and biopharmaceutical technologies.