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Major Thai retailers stop giving out plastic bags

Thai Retailers Association members have stopped providing customers with plastic bags as a ban took effect on January 1. 

A campaign titled Every Day Say No to Plastic Bags run by Thai Retailer Association will stop its 75 member chains from giving away plastic bags through 24,500 outlets, aiming to cut 13.5 billion plastic bags used in Thailand annually – about 30 per cent of the total. 

According to the Department of Pollution Control, 18 billion plastic bags (40 per cent) come from the fresh markets each year, while another 30 per cent or 13.5 billion bags come from local grocery stores. In Bangkok, each person uses eight plastic bags on average per day, creating around 80 million pieces of plastic waste daily.

“Thailand was ranked sixth among the world’s top countries that dumps waste into the sea,” said Varawut Silpa-Archa, minister of natural resources and environment. “During the past five months, we were down to 10th … thanks to the cooperation of the Thai people.”

The country reduced the use of plastic bags by 2 billion last year, in the first phase of a campaign to encourage consumers’ voluntary refusal of plastic bags from stores. Many department stores and supermarkets in Thailand already have their own programmes to cut down on plastic bags.

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