SET-listed PTT Global Chemical Plc (PTTGC), Thailand's largest petrochemical maker, is studying the feasibility of a local recycling facility for polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles as part of a circular economy framework.
PTTGC is interested in the trend because it sees it as necessary to the country's industrial sector. The company is also concerned about environmental issues, resources and social responsibility.
The study has not concluded, nor has a budget been developed.
Warawan Tippawanich, senior vice-president for corporate affairs, said PTTGC is aiming for an eco-friendly facility that will increase the value of its waste products.
The company is also seeking new business partners that are moving in the same direction as PTTGC.
"We are a petrochemical producer, and our products are made from PET materials, so we have to understand that plastic waste is affecting the overall global environment," Ms Warawan said. "Since many developed countries have initiated the circular economy idea, Thailand has to do so."
PTTGC is trying to develop new products from the recycling process used for PET bottles, but the process has to apply cutting-edge technology and innovation.
At present, the company has developed a product at the trial level: T-shirts made from PET bottles.
"This T-shirt is from our project, teaming up with local people and the local government unit in Koh Samet in Rayong, where there is a production base of PTTGC," Ms Warawan said. "We collect the PET bottles on the island and in the sea to make the T-shirts, and we give them to charity events and marathon races."
She said 10 tonnes of PET bottles can produce roughly 50,000 T-shirts.
PTTGC plans to launch the T-shirts commercially next year as part of the circular economy framework.
The circular economy idea came up yesterday at a seminar titled "Global Business Dialogue 2018: Innovating the Sustainable Future" held by the Thailand Management Association (TMA) in collaboration with the Foreign Affairs Ministry.
Thammasak Jittimaporn, the TMA vice-chairman, said Thai business operators should move towards achieving the UN General Assembly's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
They should share in ideas and key insights, he said, as well as apply technology and innovation to develop their operations, so that all actors can maintain the SDGs in the country's business and industrial sectors.
The circular economy framework is also a part of the SDGs and has grown in awareness among Thai stakeholders for the past couple of years.
The cornerstone is the concept of zero waste in every societal structure.