7-Eleven Thailand to trial plastic bag ban at 137 stores
A number of 7-Eleven outlets in Thailand will stop handing out plastic bags to customers from Nov. 25, 2019 onward.
This is in preparation for a nationwide plastic bag ban set to kick in at the start of 2020.
No more plastic bags at 137 outlets
137 pilot stores, out of the country’s total 10,300, will not be providing plastic bags anymore, according to Thai news site The Nation.
Suwit Kingkaew, senior vice president of sustainable development at CP All, the operator of 7-Eleven, said on Nov. 22 that the pilot programme would “help [them] get ready for the ‘no plastic bag’ policy to be employed at the start of next year at all branches of 7-Eleven.”
However, the use of plastic bags will still be allowed for certain foods such as hot foods, wet foods, meats and fruits.
Branches that have stopped giving out plastic bags will reportedly put up posters informing customers to bring their own reusable bags. 7-Eleven stores will also be selling “high-quality fabric bags at a reasonable price”.
Nationwide ban in 2020
The trial will precede a nationwide ban, which will take effect on Jan. 1, 2020.
According to Bangkok Post, large retailers, department stores, and even plastic manufacturers have all agreed to stop distributing single-use plastic bags from early 2020.
The list of major operators include CP All, which aside from owning all 7-Eleven stores in Thailand, also owns the country’s largest retailer, Central Group and Aeon (Thailand) Co.
In addition, styrofoam food packages and other single-use plastic items, such as straws and cups will be banned by the beginning of 2022.
Campaign should have been done “long ago”
Thai environment minister Varawut Silpa-archa announced on Sep. 6 that this move would help Thailand leave the list of major generators of waste and sea garbage, Bangkok Post reported.
He also said consumers “must prepare to bring their own bags to carry things”.
“This type of campaign should have been done long ago,” he said. “We have spent so much time trying to negotiate. At last, we made it.”
Thailand produces a lot of plastic trash
Thailand is the sixth largest generator of sea waste.
Environmental group Greenpeace told Reuters that 75 billion pieces of plastic bags end up in the waste each year in Thailand.
Half of these reportedly come from malls, supermarkets, and convenience stores, while the other half come from local markets, mom-and-pop shops and street vendors.
Cooperation from these retail giants would help reduce single-use plastic usage by 30 per cent, Varawut said.
Top photo from Katherine Dixon / FB