Initiative transforms waste into pallets

Initiative transforms waste into pallets

An artificial wood pallet, made of recycled plastic waste, being used in a warehouse.
An artificial wood pallet, made of recycled plastic waste, being used in a warehouse.

Several companies and a university have joined forces to promote the use of hard-to-recycle plastic containers of liquid products in a fresh move to reduce waste and curb carbon dioxide emissions.

The used plastic is turned into an artificial form of pallet called "Green Plas Pallet". This recycled plastic is jointly developed by King Mongkut's Institute of Technology Ladkrabang (KMITL) and MBJ Enterprise Co, a polymer maker for plastic bags.

Green Plas Pallet has been used since August in a warehouse of chemical maker Dow Thailand Group as part of a new environmental campaign, which also includes Unilever Thailand, a manufacturer of consumer products, TPBI, a manufacturer of plastic packaging, and the Thailand Public-Private Partnership for Plastic and Waste Management.

They announced this week the successful use of Green Plas Pallet in place of wooden pallets, although the former incurs slightly higher costs.

Dow Thailand president Chatchai Luanpolcharoenchai said up to 104 tonnes of plastic waste will be recycled to make 59,000 Green Plas pallets, which are expected to help bring about a reduction of around 108 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year.

This reduction in carbon dioxide is equivalent to the amount of carbon dioxide absorbed by a forest covering 333 rai per year.

Mr Chatchai said the pallets made of recycled plastic are of a high quality, and could be used as a substitute for wooden pallets.

Green Plas Pallet is a mix of wood powder and used plastic sachets, mostly from bathrooms and kitchens, said Mr Chatchai.

This development is part of the circular economy, which promotes an upcycling process to add value to unwanted materials, making them useable again.

More plastic waste will be recycled by 2030 for purposes other than warehouse functions.

"Today's throwaway culture must end and we believe plastic waste has a right place, which is not streets, canals, rivers, or oceans," said Choo Lim, Unilever vice-president for supply chains in Thailand and Southeast Asia.

Research indicates several pieces of plastic waste end up in oceans each year and the numbers will triple by 2040, she said.

"This has to stop. We must transform the way we see the waste," said Ms Lim.

Suchatvee Suwansawat, president of KMITL, said the university is developing recycled plastic for use as building and decorative materials.

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