Shopping in Thailand goes plastic-free


It’s a big “YAY!” for us when we hear news like this. It’s been a much talked about topic in Thailand and our Southeast Asian destinations: Thai authorities have banned the distribution of free plastic bags in major malls and retailers around the country as of 1 January 2020. The decision has been a great if hotly debated, move toward greater sustainability for the destination.

The ban was introduced earlier than planned in the government’s 20-year Strategic Plan and Reform, which sought to end the use of single-use plastic shopping bags in 2022. While the ban has been criticized as being too sudden and some complaining of its ‘inconvenience’, Thailand’s Environment Minister, Varawut Silpa-archa, believes the response has been mostly positive and is now setting his sights on banning cups, straws, and styrofoam food containers.

The move has also been somewhat of a social media success, with consumers taking a humorous attitude towards shopping “plastic-free” by bringing alternatives such as traffic cones, suitcases, laundry baskets, and gardening pots, to name a few.

To the odd negative feedback and complaints that the campaign will not achieve enough and doesn’t target the bigger picture, Varawut Silpa-archa simply acknowledges “I understand that a lot more needs to be done, but I have to take the first step.” There’s a strong belief here and one that we fully support, which is that every step counts, even if there’s a small price to pay in terms of convenience. As the minister aptly puts, “…it’s our nature and natural resources that matter most eventually. These are the capital of our life. We can’t put a price on the environment.”

Sustainability isn’t always easy or comfortable, but is, without a doubt, the most critical “campaign” of the 21st century. When governments take action as Thailand has, we see this as an encouraging step in the right direction.

For more on what Thailand’s Environment Minister Varawut Silpa-archa had to say about his new approaches, read the full interview here.

Interested in what we do at Easia Active and want to expand your portfolio with mindful, active tours and activities? Reach out to us today at [email protected]

Matteo Galeazzi

Easia Active Manager

Matteo not only has extensive academic background in tourism, but has also gained valuable insight while living and working in multiple destinations around the world. His energy and enthusiasm for active as well as sustainable travel are what make him a strong driving force within the Easia Active team.


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