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Thais start waking up on reducing plastic bags

Thai people in general, high-learning educational institutions, private and public sectors are waking up to the calls for the reduction of plastic bags in their daily use in light of the recent deaths of several wild animals from their eating of discarded plastic bags and the global problem of plastic garbage in seas and oceans.

Here are some examples of the educational institutions that have started cutting down the daily use of single-use plastic bags in their campuses.

At Thammasat University’s Rangsit campus, students have been urged to bring their own cotton bags when they want to shop for snacks, drinks or whatever from the convenience stores on the campus.  Convenience stores, meanwhile, will inform their customers that plastic bags will be provided only for hot instant food.

Convenience stores on the campus have also replaced their single-use plastic glass with reusable glass which can be washed and recycled for use. Any student who brings his/her own glass will be given a two-baht discount for a glass of cold drinks or any student who wants a paper glass will be charged an addition of two baht.

About ten percent of customers have reportedly brought their own glasses or mugs when they buy iced soft drinks at the stores.

To help students who do not bring their own bags, there are points scattering throughout the campus where cotton bags are available to be lent out to the students. The same points also receive donated bags from any donor.

Ms Jiraporn Painuan, an official of Thammasat University’s Rangsit campus, told Thai PBS that, after one month of the campaign to reduce the use of single-use plastic bags, she saw the gradual positive change of habit of students in the use of plastic bags.

Assistant Professor Prinya Tevanarumit, a vice rector for administration and sustainability, said that for the campaign to change the habit in the use of plastic bags, it had to be done and followed up on sustainable basis.

He added that convenience stores on campus no longer hand out free single-use plastic bags for customers who will have to pay for plastic bags or to borrow cotton bags from the stores.
He explained that, at Thammasat, the measure to cut back the use of plastic bags was tougher than the other campuses because the university wanted to set an example for the others to follow suit if the campaign has proven to be successful.

There are about 40,000 students and teaching staff and other officials at the Rangsit campus. In 2016, about 6.5 million plastic bags were used by convenience stores on campus and the amount was reduced to 4.7 million last year. The university aims to further cut the amount by 80 percent to about one million bags a year or about 90,000 bags per month.

At Chulalongkorn University, a similar campaign was launched with all stores and canteens joining the campaign by reducing the use of plastic bags. Discount is given for customers who do not want to use plastic bags or bring their own bags.

It was reported that several cafes or coffee outlets have given discount to customers to bring their own cups, mugs or glasses.

Thai PBS

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