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Buying online in Thailand means you are adding to the global plastic waste problem


webfact
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As we keep reading there has been a massive surge in buying online during the pandemic, and the owners of companies like Amazon and Lazada are becoming even richer.


Although this may be a convenient way of getting your books, furniture, and even food delivered to your doorstep, the downside is all the packaging that comes with your goods is adding to local and then the global waste problem.


The pandemic-driven surge in online merchandise sales is unfortunately also generating a huge volume of new plastic waste every day, mainly from the widespread use of “bubble wraps” to package goods ordered by consumers

 

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Packages draped in disposable plastic bubble wrap (file photo)


If you make an online purchase today, chances are you will receive the item that you ordered in a packet or carton draped in throwaway plastic bubble wrap. 


The problem with these elastic wraps with air-filled cushions is that they cannot be reused. Once they are ripped to open a package, the wraps get put in the dustbin and adds to all the plastic waste escaping into our water environment.


It has become so bad that in some country’s governments are taking action. 


Thailand is the tenth-biggest dumper of plastic waste 


According to the Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI), Thailand is the world's tenth-biggest dumper of plastic waste into the sea (2020). That is not surprising. 


The country has an average of 1.03 tons of mismanaged waste each year. ... and as we know plastics take a long time from twenty up to five hundred years to decompose.


According to the Pollution Control Department, about two million tons of plastic waste were generated every year in Thailand over the past decade.


But the sad news is that only a quarter of this amount (around 500,000 tons) was properly retrieved and recycled.


New Philippines Plastic Products Regulation Act 


 In the Philippines, they are preparing a bill that calls for the phaseout of all plastic products designed to be disposed of, destroyed, or recycled, after only one use.


The proposed Single-Use Plastic Products Regulation Act is already with the Philippines Senate after the House approved it in July last year.


Once the bill is enacted, all single-use plastics -- from drinking straws and beverage containers to sachets and wraps – would be phased out within one to four years. 


Thereafter, the production, importation, sale, distribution, provision, or use of single-use plastic products shall be prohibited.


Eighty percent of all marine litter 


The headlines have been focusing on global warming for a long time, however plastic waste, should also not be ignored.


Plastic waste which now accounts for 80 percent of all marine litter, is a persistent pollutant that degrades marine life.


Many marine species die when they ingest, get trapped, suffocate in plastic scraps, or starve to death when their stomachs become filled with debris.


Over time, ocean plastic fragments, which do not decompose, get weathered and disintegrate into microparticles that cause even greater damage to marine ecosystems.


Thailand waste


It is estimated that plastic waste in Thailand is recycled at the rate of approximately 0.5 million tons per year, while the remaining 1.5 million tons are mostly single use plastics (SUP) such as hot bags, cold bags, handle bags, plastic cups, plastic straws, foam boxes, and food containers.


Some of Thailand's specific waste management challenges include open-air city-centre dumps and waste burning, a total absence of street litter bins, an impractical waste recycling system, no separate collection of waste by authorities, rampant overuse of plastic grocery bags, and the need for financial and technical incentives.


Meanwhile it seems it is being left to volunteers to remove plastic waste from Thailand's oceans and beaches. 


But the campaign does not stop there – once the plastics are collected, they are further upcycled and turned into sustainable clothing.


However, although we can buy fabric bags at supermarkets and dispose of our rubbish in separated dustbins, the world must rely on politicians to solve the waste problem.


It would seem that here in Thailand the priority is on improving the rail and road networks while the countries rivers, canals at its seas are clogged up with plastic.


Not a great advert for international tourists, who want to enjoy a swim in the blue clear waters around our shores. 

 

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34 minutes ago, RJRS1301 said:

I find it pretty astounding, how the use of bamboo for packageing (take away) straws and carry bags is not used here.

 

One solution often creates new challenges and problems. If everyone is going to use bamboo packageing, hemp, or anything else that is possible to grow enviromental impact free instead of plastic, it will create a new industry that will compete with the growing food areas and the forrests, and Im sure they will use pestocides and fertilizers and we are back to zero. 

 

Bamboo clothes and hemp clothes already do and it is a growing industry. Same as biodiesel as an another example that is some of the most stupid solutions so far. 

Edited by Hummin
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Really? is this what bothering you now? as if everything ells in the world is fine and only this plastic issue is a thing to worry about?...

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I think if we make these companies responsible to clean after delivery(CAD).

After delivery, may be after a week , these companies should pick up these plastic bubble sheets and boxes for recycle.

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..."the global plastic waste problem"

the kids on the pic seem to enjoy it (plastic), but yes, plastic pollution has become an existential issue

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1 hour ago, JTXR said:

Pretty much everything you buy new is way over-packaged.  If you're serious about reducing less packaging waste, you buy less, you buy food in bulk, and you buy used stuff when you can.  Not always possible of course, but it'll be individual choice. 

Set up a burn barrel in the backyard, great for waste reduction.

My neighbors hate mine !!

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2 hours ago, webfact said:

If you make an online purchase today, chances are you will receive the item that you ordered in a packet or carton draped in throwaway plastic bubble wrap. 

Everything I buy at small convenience stores or even larger supermarkets are always double/triple wrapped, then put into other plastic bags.

Especially at the fruit section, some items are even individually packaged.

 

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1 hour ago, JTXR said:

Pretty much everything you buy new is way over-packaged.  If you're serious about reducing less packaging waste, you buy less, you buy food in bulk, and you buy used stuff when you can.  Not always possible of course, but it'll be individual choice.  If you wait for industry or government to care about the environment, you'll be waiting a long time.

World governments could cut the use of packaging by 50% overnight with legislation.

Take a look at most product packaging... they are only half-filled to make the product look larger.

Hold almost any container/packet/bag up to the light and it's half-full.

 

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36 minutes ago, jacko45k said:

You don't sit in front of the TV popping it like most other people.... great entertainment. 

Yes, these lockdowns have affected some more than others! 🤪

Edited by sungod
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5 minutes ago, hotchilli said:

Tinned biscuits are a con, 

And what is with chocolate these days.... I bought what I thought was a bar of the stuff and it turned out to be 4-5 individually wrapped small chocolates.... 3 lots of wrapping in total. And don't get me started on Toblerone reducing the number of peaks in their deceptive packaging!

Edited by jacko45k
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Buying online in Thailand means you are adding to the global plastic waste problem

Is this what happens in Cities ? puzzled ??

 

Cannot think of anything I buy online that has extra packing.....   Bought yesterday + delivered within 2 hours a new PC Monitor was in the box as from the store you see on the shelf with a label with address on the box..  same on Monday my 20 kg of Fish food delivered had a address label on the sack, last week the 20 kg Dog food the same, Supermarket deliveries  always arrive in a plastic container box, you take in house take items out and return the box to driver..

 

Can't think of any items with ADDED extra packing..........  if you go shopping pre-wrapped items will often get put in a bag and yet another bag at cash out  !!

 

So to me shopping on-line = cutting down on plastic waste problem

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Many of us buy online because it's not available locally or is a badly made knockoff.

 

Bigger problem is people just littering.

Im disposing of any plastcs properly and recycling the boxes.

 

The burning of plastic in Thailand is considered normal.

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Buying online is no problem. It makes sense to have a guy on a little scooter deliver it alongside 5-6 other deliveries for people at my condo than for 5-6 of us to sit in our cars individually going to the store.

 

The other benefit is that I pay the correct price. Unlike Mom and Pop style hardware stores, markets, local furniture shops etc. where everything is unmarked so they can pluck a price out of their head, often based on your race.

 

 

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29 minutes ago, hotchilli said:

Everything I buy at small convenience stores or even larger supermarkets are always double/triple wrapped, then put into other plastic bags.

Especially at the fruit section, some items are even individually packaged.

There is a certain large grocery store that individually wraps everything little fruit and vegetable  in plastic.  After living here for many years I'm still amazed that a store would singly wrap an apple in cling wrap.  Or a banana?  There's more plastic in one vegetable department than a box you may get with some bubble wrap.  I think they think it's "cleaner" but its a pathetic waste.  In my option, that is.

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1 hour ago, sungod said:

Yes, makes total sense for lots of people to get in their cars, rather than one guy in a van deliver everything.

 

Had to go to Mr DIY the other day to buy charging lead for a phone, think it cost more in fuel than the purchase.

These kind of articles don't really go deep into the problem. They just want to force sellers to use less packaging material (a good thing) but by going to extremes and not pointing out to positives of buying online they will catch flack from people who do use their brain.

 

Their goal is good, but not taking everything into account is an unfair way to get your point across. 

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3 minutes ago, LivingNThailand said:

I'm still amazed that a store would singly wrap an apple in cling wrap.  Or a banana? 

It is to deter sampling and then putting them back!

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51 minutes ago, hotchilli said:

Especially at the fruit section, some items are even individually packaged.

In Makro, Phitsanulok yesterday, I was horrified to see imported potatoes each with an individual plastic 'protection' net on. Disgusting.

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"The country has an average of 1.03 tons of mismanaged waste each year."

 

Hardly a major problem or is the article a quick cut and paste job that the reporter has no idea what they are writing about?

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14 minutes ago, robblok said:

These kind of articles don't really go deep into the problem. They just want to force sellers to use less packaging material (a good thing) but by going to extremes and not pointing out to positives of buying online they will catch flack from people who do use their brain.

 

Their goal is good, but not taking everything into account is an unfair way to get your point across. 

100 people using cars is a lot worse than 1 guy delivering it all.

 

The only people being unfair here are those writing the article trying to put their opinion across. They have a duty to weigh up all the facts, not just the ones they choose.

 

 

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