Plastic Waste : Thailand to ban plastic waste imports

Waste loading at port cargo ship transports of garbage for recycling factory. Concept plastic Pollution environment, aerial top view.
© Parilov -

Since 2020, Thailand's government has been talking about banning the import of plastic waste. Now it is getting serious. By 2025 Thailand will no longer allow the import of plastic waste. It's decision follows the trend of other Southeast Asian countries, such as Malysia and Vietnam, that banned plastic waste imports in the wake of China’s National Sword initiative in 2018.

"Thailand must not be a dump site for plastic waste," Varawut Silpa-archa, Thailand’s natural resources and environment minister, told the Bangkok Post. "We need to protect our country."

Thailand is one of the primary importing countries for plastic waste. Even though the US and EU are exporting part of their plastic waste to Thailand, the majority comes from Japan. According to Basel Action Network Japan exports an average of 5 Mio kilos of plastic waste each month to Thailand.

The ban will take place in phases over the next three years. The first phase is to start next year to limit the amount of imported plastic waste based on actual production capacities. At this point companies will still be allowed to import the waste they need.

The second phase will start in 2024. Only 50% of imports will be allowed by then. The total ban will start in 2025. "By the end of the next three years, we will not allow any import of plastic scraps from around the world," Mr Silpa-archa said. "This is a significant step to make our country clean from plastic waste."

The Southeast Asian country is among those that signed on to a United Nations treaty to end plastic pollution. The legally binding agreement was signed in March and is scheduled to be ratified in 2024.