Thailand is one of the five countries globally contributing the most plastic waste pollution into the oceans. Thailand has critical problems with improper waste management infrastructure, poor waste management practices and low public awareness of how or why individuals should be responsible waste generators. In the country’s large and growing capital, Bangkok, the situation is becoming increasingly acute.
This case study explores the plastic waste value chain in Bangkok to better understand the contributions of – and links between – formal and informal actors in plastic waste management. The insights from this study hopefully will help determine a range of policy measures that work to enhance the contributions of all level of waste collectors and thus the environmental and economic benefits of an integrated plastic waste management system.
The study centred on plastic waste management in the Bangkok metropolitan area, and specifically in Sai Mai District for more in-depth research. Sai Mai District is one of three waste collection and transportation systems run by the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA), with waste composition and waste stream flows comparable to many of the city’s 50 other districts.
This case study was produced under the Closing the Loop initiative of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP). The initiative is gathering evidence in cities in the Asia-Pacific region in search of opportunities to return plastic resources to the production cycle by linking informal and formal waste processes. The case studies in Sai Mai District, Bangkok (Thailand) and Pune (India) were produced in close partnership with the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) Asia Centre and Kashtakari Panchayat – the local partner of Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO) in Pune.