On June 24, 2018, Thailand’s Department of Industrial Works issued a prohibition on imports of electronic and plastic waste, effective immediately.
The Department will also be proposing to the Ministry of Industry to issue “an indefinite ban on these imports in the near future.” Officials will soon begin inspecting recycling facilities nationwide.
Thailand now joins other Southeast Asian countries in banning scrap material imports in the wake of China’s National Sword policy. Vietnam’s Tan Cang-Cai Mep International Terminal recently enacted a temporary ban on containers of scrap plastic and paper, which came into effect on June 25, 2018 and is scheduled through October 15, 2018. This follows temporary bans already enacted at one of Vietnam’s largest shipping terminals, Tan Cang-Cat Lai, which faced its own backlog of containers.
On April 19, 2018, APL, one of the world’s leading ocean carriers, also announced a temporary ban of plastic scrap shipments from the US and Canada to Malaysia and Thailand due to the “escalating number of idle containers of recycled plastic in both countries.”
Thailand’s bans now apply to every country. Steve Wong, the executive director of the China Scrap Plastics Association, says that a government advisory board in Thailand plans to implement a policy that would only allow companies that produce zero waste and no carbon emissions to operate recycling facilities.
Wong is also concerned that Malaysia will soon close its doors to imports as well, as many Southeast Asian countries do not have the infrastructure to handle the influx of materials.