TAT enlists Unilever in tackling waste
'Trash' project gets trial run in Krabi
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) and Unilever Thailand have signed a memorandum of understanding to run the Tourism to Recycling Actions for the Schools and Homes (Trash) project, starting in Krabi province.
Other parties, including the Pollution Control Department and Krabi municipality, will join the project, which will officially launch on Nov 19.
Robert Candelino, chief executive of Unilever Thailand, said the Trash project was created to help solve the plastic waste crisis, one of the biggest challenges facing society.
The project in Krabi will become the prototype or model for other provinces in the future, Mr Candelino said.
Under the project, plastic waste at locations like schools, temples and tourism spots will be collected and turned into tables, chairs and other items using plastic recycling machines.
Krabi is a potential destination for both international and domestic tourists who can generate income for local communities, said Chutathip Chareonlarp, director of the TAT governor's office.
"But the growth comes with a price because natural resources are affected by the number of tourists who produce waste," Ms Chutathip said. "So sustainable development is our key action to create more responsible tourism, as well as create awareness among both locals and tourists."
Of the overall waste of 27.8 million tonnes produced by Thailand last year, 2 million tonnes consisted of plastic waste that ended up in the oceans and damaged tourism sites and the lives of marine animals, said Pralong Damrongthai, director-general of the Pollution Control Department.
"We plan to recycle some 500,000 tonnes of plastic waste in order to reduce the impact on natural resources, and the Trash project is one of the efforts to help support the recycling process and return waste into the circular economy," Mr Pralong said.
Beginning next year, the department will partner with 46 department stores to stop handing out oxo-degradable plastic bags to customers.
The measure will help cut the amount of plastic bags used by 13.5 billion, or 30% of the overall 45 billion bags used in the country.
Channarong Leelaburanapong, deputy mayor of Krabi municipality, said the province last year welcomed 6 million tourists who generated 1.18 billion baht for the economy.
"As Krabi aims to become a clean province, this project will recycle plastic waste like multi-layer plastics or high-density polyethylene plastics, which are difficult to decompose into value-added furniture," Mr Channarong said.