In a bid to ease into the ban on single-use plastic bags that kicks into gear in 2021, the cabinet has approved a “no plastic” campaign, which will come into effect on Jan 1 next year.

The announcement was made on Nov 12 by government spokeswoman Narumon Pinyosinwat, who said the cabinet has approved the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment's campaign to stop giving out single-use plastic bags—a joint effort between agencies that include the Prime Minister's Office, the Ministry of Natural Resources, the Ministry of Interior and the private sector.  

As stated on the official Facebook page of Varawut Silpa-archa, the Natural Resources and Environment minister, 46 convenience and department stores nationwide have signed up to the “Everyday Say No To Plastic Bags” campaign. The list includes giant retailers who have already pledged to reduce single-use plastic bags like The Mall Group (Siam Paragon, EmQuartier, Emporium and Gourmet Market grocery stores) and Central Group (Central Department Stores, Tops Supermarket, Tops Superstore and Tops Daily), as well as Tesco Lotus, Villa Market, Big C, MaxValu, Robinson, Foodland, Makro, Home Pro and the biggest fish of them all: CP All, the operator of 7-Eleven convenience stores in Thailand. 

The cabinet has also given the green light to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment’s 2018-2030 Roadmap on Plastic Waste Management, which seeks to have all plastic waste in Thailand recycled within the next ten years. 

By the end of this year, Thailand will ban three types of plastic (cap seals, oxo-degradable plastics and microbeads) and four others by 2022 (foam food containers, plastic bags less than 36 microns thick, plastic straws and plastic cups). That means you had better get used to carrying a takeaway container for your pad kaprao.

Thailand is the world’s sixth largest contributor to ocean waste, generating almost two million tonnes of plastic waste. That equates to 200 billion plastic bags each year. 

Varawut strongly urged Thai shoppers to forgo convenience and make carrying tote bags or paper bags a habit before the campaign kicks off.