Connect with us


Phuket Opinion: Waste not, and waste not wanted

Legacy Phuket Gazette



PHUKET: I was recently contacted by a man named David, a graduate-level research assistant from a reputable University in Bangkok, who had come to Phuket for the first time – but not for the typical reasons.

The destination luring David to our “paradise island” was not any particular beach, cove, resort, restaurant or bar, but was in fact the Waste Incineration Power Plant and Landfill in Saphan Hin – not exactly post card material, I’d say.

Having read several articles on the Phuket Gazette website – in particular, one that I’d written entitled “Phuket Waste 101: Dousing the burning issue” (see here) – David was looking to obtain more data as part of his research for a thesis he is writing.

After giving him some leads, I inquired further about his motivations, to which he revealed that he is exploring the viability of Thailand’s budding Waste To Energy (WTE) industry, of which Sweden is a model country.

In contrast to the situation in Phuket, there is actually a shortage of consumer waste in Northern Europe, where rubbish is in high demand thanks to the highly efficient WTE plants there.

In Europe, consumers’ demand for incineration-sourced energy has far surpassed their capacity to produce and supply the necessary fuel – trash.

To keep up with such swelling demand, both Sweden and Norway are now paying top dollar to ship in trash (not just recyclables, but all types of refuse) from neighboring countries to feed their WTE plants, and thus power and heat their homes, schools and cities.

Just a few paces behind, Thailand is headed down a similar path, highlighted by the Department of Energy’s goal to double the amount of energy produced by incinerating municipal solid waste.

This means moving from the 80 megawatts produced by burning rubbish now – about a fifth of which is produced by Phuket’s rubbish alone – to up to 160MW by 2021.

As a keen researcher like David would agree, perhaps the path we are treading – one that is focused on boosting our dependency on producing and eventually, like Scandinavia, importing waste – is the wrong one.

Instead, wouldn’t it be wiser to reduce our dependency on waste and energy, and in fact to stop wasting energy? What do you think, Dave?

— Steven Layne


Want more Thailand news from the Thaiger family?

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS for instant updates on your mobile
📝️ Join the conversation on Thaiger Talk - discuss news & life in our Thailand forums
📧 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🔔 Subscribe to or Join our YouTube channel for daily video updates


Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

World16 mins ago

New Zealand economy bounces back to pre-pandemic levels, exceeding forecasts

Myanmar23 mins ago

US Embassy in Thailand issues security alert due to violence near Myanmar border

Hong Kong39 mins ago

Hong Kong police arrest 5 executives and raid offices of pro-democracy newspaper

Phuket Sandbox July 1st


Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in July - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages in June!

Sponsored by image

Thailand1 hour ago

Thursday Covid Update: 3,129 new cases and 30 deaths

Coronavirus (Covid-19)2 hours ago

Medic says 10% of Covid-19 infections in Bangkok are Delta variant

Phuket2 hours ago

TAT asked to make changes to Phuket sandbox before submitting for final approval

Coronavirus (Covid-19)3 hours ago

“We’ll do better on vaccines, there’s loads more on the way” – Anutin

Coronavirus (Covid-19)12 hours ago

Health Department warns: Avoid Covid-19, don’t have sex

Coronavirus (Covid-19)14 hours ago

PM Prayut announces Thailand will fully reopen within 120 days

Transport17 hours ago

Thai Airways rehabilitation plan accepted by Bankruptcy Court

Thailand17 hours ago

Thailand News Today | PM apologises, vaccine delays, Pattaya sandbox? and sharks | June 16

Coronavirus (Covid-19)17 hours ago

Restaurants request easing of Covid-19 rules and financial aid

Thailand17 hours ago

Isaan farmer and son electrocuted and killed by wire fence in rice field

Thailand18 hours ago

Another data breach: Info leaked on Bangkok Immigration website

Crime19 hours ago

Krabi men arrested after TikTok video of a shark shot and killed goes viral

Thailand3 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism4 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism4 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism4 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8