Thailand is now world’s second-largest maker of bioplastics
Thailand is now the second-largest producer of bioplastics in the world behind the U.S., thanks to the Thai government’s commitment to the bio-circular-green (BCG) economy.
© European Bioplastics, nova-Institute GmbH (2018)“The U.S. is producing roughly 150,000 tons of bioplastics each year, while Thailand now has the capacity to turn out 95,000 tons,” said Viboon Pungpraset, President of the Thai Bioplastics Industry Association.
Thai manufacturers are planning to increase capacity by another 75,000 tons per year. Potential for further growth is high. Demand for bioplastics, especially in developed countries is rising, and 90 percent of the bioplastics Thailand is producing are exported.
The Kingdom is well-positioned to build a BCG economy in part because of its robust agricultural sector that provides a wealth of raw materials for bio and green industry.
“Thailand has high potential for bioplastic production because we are rich in sugar cane and cassava, which are key raw materials,” Viboon said.
With the world, and especially countries in Southeast Asia, battling a rising tide of plastic pollution, some environmentalists believe bioplastics are the most viable solution, as not enough people separate plastics for recycling and most countries do not have systems to collect used plastics or enough facilities to recycle most of the plastics they receive.
Admittedly, Thailand and the world have a long way to go as far as replacing petroleum-based plastics. About 360 million tons of plastics are produced globally and production projected to grow by 6 percent a year, according to the Plastics Institute of Thailand.