Thailand banishes plastic bags by 2021

BANGKOK, 16 September 2019:  The old fashioned not so cool “pinto” is making a comeback as Thailand attempts to tackle the massive problem of plastic waste.

Plastic and Styrofoam containers pushed aside the metal food stacked containers known as ‘pinto’ in the food takeaway business.  They were considered low-class or just old fashioned, but now they could be part of the solution to end the use of plastic bags and containers by 2021.

According to Thailand’s National News Bureau, Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha is taking on-board the campaign to reduce plastic garbage to solve environmental problems.

He met with officials of the Office of the Consumer Protection Board last week to discuss plans to end to the use of plastic bags and promote the use of metal food containers and cloth bags.

In India, the pinto is called a ‘tiffin’, and a recent BBC  report  presented examples of takeaway food shops in the UK switching  to the “tiffin containers” to eliminate plastic food containers

Past efforts to wean Thais off plastics and return to using the pinto when buying takeaway food failed in the past.  That might be about to change.

News reports also confirmed that January 2021 is the deadline to phase out plastic bags in Thailand.

 That’s the declared “D-Day”, but it is kicking in now with major retailers such as CP Group (7-Eleven), Central and The Mall Group confirming they will no longer offer plastic bags to customers as early as 1 January 2020.

 Thai PBS reported that campaign gesture could reduce plastic waste by as much as 30% reduction.

Strategies are in place to encourage “mom and pop” stores and fresh food markets to follow suit to banish plastic bags entirely by 1 January 2021.

Thailand has been named one of the leading polluters through plastic bags and the sixth as the sixth-worst polluter of the oceans worldwide.

Thai PBS reported that 2 billion plastic bags were taken out of circulation last year due to the campaign.

 So dust off your pinto. It is now cool to be green and care for the environment, and the pinto back in the mix.
(Source: Thai PBS and NNT)