Thailand to ban imports of electronic and plastic waste

BANGKOK • Thailand will ban imports of 432 types of scrap electronics within six months, an Environment Ministry official said yesterday(Thu), the latest country to respond to China’s crackdown on imports of high-tech trash this year.

South-east Asian nations fear they are the new dumping ground for the world’s trash after China banned the entry of several types of waste as part of a campaign against “foreign garbage”.

Thailand’s ban comes weeks after regional neighbour Vietnam said it would stop issuing new licences for waste imports and crack down on illegal shipments of paper, plastic and metal.

The Thai ban covers 432 types of electronic refuse – from electronic circuit boards to old television and radio parts – and will take effect within six months, a senior Environment Ministry official said, adding that the ban was agreed at a meeting on Wednesday chaired by Environment Minister Surasak Kanchanarat.

Mr Mongukol Pruekwatana, director-general of the Department of Industrial Works, said a full list of banned items would be announced soon.

E-waste – commonly defined as any device with an electric cord or battery – can be mined for valuable metals such as gold, silver and copper. However, it can also include hazardous materials such as lead, mercury and cadmium.

Thailand also planned to ban imports of plastic waste in the next two years, the Environment Ministry official said.
Its military government has said improving the country’s waste management infrastructure is a priority and set goals for 2021.

They included cutting the use of plastic bags and bottles in government agencies and businesses, and plastic bans at tourist destinations.

A tax on plastic bags has also been mentioned, along with a target to recycle up to 60 per cent of plastic by 2021.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 17, 2018, with the headline 'Thailand to ban imports of electronic and plastic waste'. Subscribe