This is a story of Ban Khrueng Tai, a village that has been recognized for having the best waste management practice.
This is a community that adopts thorough waste management actions and regards waste items as valuables. Notably, the village has established rules for waste management and actively enforced it.
Starting as a village with no understanding of waste management, today, Ban Khrueng Tai has transformed into a zero-waste community. It can achieve such a big goal thanks to their concerted efforts.
This is the village that has taken it “very seriously.
Thorough Waste Separation System
Ban Khrueng Tai is located in Khrueng subdistrict of Chiang Khong district in Chiang Rai province. After being awarded the title of “Sufficiency Economy Village, ” Ban Khrueng Tai received an influx of educational visitors, plus an enormous amount of waste brought along. The local municipality administration at the time lacked appropriate measures regarding waste collection. Most villagers had to manage trash in their ways: burying in farmland or burning. As a result, the village was irked by waste problems.
“We have had waste issues all along. If it is left unresolved, it will become a huge problem. Until 2011, we decided to call villagers for a meeting, urging them to start managing waste. We later submitted a proposal to Khrueng municipality office asking them to send staff to give us knowledge. It was, fortunately, aligning with the municipality’s policy to support waste management practices. The training was then held in our village.”
Mr. Sompetch Tachai, headman of Ban Khrueng Tai described how villagers started waste management. Once cultivated, villagers kicked off a plan and decided to separate waste into five categories: recyclable waste, organic waste, general waste, hazardous waste, and infectious waste. Some households have extended waste types for waste separation.
“For example, recyclable waste is further sorted into four sub-categories: paper, plastic, glass bottle, and metal. The stricter waste separation helps promote individual tidiness. Importantly, they can gain a higher sales price if waste is properly sorted. Organic waste is sorted into three sub-categories. Food scraps will be put in the fermenting bucket, while yard waste will be converted into organic fertilizers. Vegetable and fruit scraps will be used to produce vermicompost for sale, and animal feed for pigs and chickens.”
Trash as Monetary Value.
At Ban Khrueng Tai, trash is regarded as equivalent to the monetary value that can be used in several village activities such as merit-saving with trash project, or monthly trash and treasure market.
“Usually, when we join a robe offering rite, we would add money into the Money Tree. But instead, now we donate recyclable waste, which will then be sold on the same day. Revenue from sales will be donated to the temple. This way, we can reduce waste, the temple gets donations, and people can make merit at the same time,” Ms. Wanpen Tachai, deputy to the headman, described merit-saving with trash project. Apart from this activity, the monthly trash and treasure market is another undertaking she engages in.
“We launched the monthly trash and treasure market on the 5th of every month. Everyone will bring waste for sale here. You can get cash from the waste sale on the same day. The profit we earn will be allocated to the village committee and dividend payouts to villagers at the end of the year.
The efforts to transform waste into monetary value have motivated villagers at Ban Khrueng Tai to optimize waste management. However, waste management actions will not stop here because the community is challenged by the smuggling of waste from other communities.
Strict Rule Enforcement
At Ban Khrueng Tai, strict rules on waste management have been established to block the smuggling of waste where a violator will be punished with a fine of 5,000 Baht. Since the enactment of the rules, there have been two incidents of violations. The strict rule enforcement has effectively halted the smuggling of waste in the village. This is one of the tips that are key to Ban Khrueng Tai’s successful waste management.
Everything can be achieved if you take serious action.