“Waste Separation At Source”: A Starting Point Toward Closed-Loop Waste Management According to Circular Economy, A Way to Help the World by Starting with Ourselves Toward Achieving Sustainable Incomes

14 June 2019 2370 views

       Over the past years, the topic of “waste” has been highlighted more intensively in many sectors. One approach that has been referenced at the international level as a key answer to sustainable solutions is Circular Economy-Based Waste Management strategies. To make it a reality, proper waste separation at source is necessary as it is a vital part to improve waste diversion efficiency for value addition. It is evidenced by a growing public enthusiasm to manage “waste at source” in a more concrete way which is an integral part of developing closed-loop waste solutions.

       Collaborative Network “Boworn: Home, Temple and School” to Instill a Green Mindset and Encourage Waste Recycling to Broaden Value, a Starting Point of Circular Community Model.

       “Our school has a goal to become a waste-free school. We have collaborated with Chemicals Business, SCG, in Rayong province to instill a green mindset and convey the message of sufficiency economy philosophy by encouraging students from kindergarten 1 to grade 6 to adopt green practices such as Repair Their Items, e.g., desks, chairs, lawn mowers and computers to reduce consumption and Reduce Foam and Plastic Usage, and promote the use of cloth bags to cut waste at source. Moreover, we have worked with temples and communities to Add Value to community wastes. For example, all monk offering buckets are turned into recycling bins for four different waste types: wood, plastic, milk carton and paper. Students are taught to separate wastes in class for efficient recycling. Milk cartons are transformed into desks and chairs for kindergarten students, hats and fans. Ice-cream sticks are used to make educational tools while paper will be made paper mache angel hats which would be donated to temples for ceremonial purposes. We also convert food waste into fertilizer for trees in school and communities,” said Ms. Boosaba Thanaporn, Principal of Khot Hin Mittaphap 42 School in Rayong province.

       Starting Something New Is Not Easy For Community. But When Realize The Benefits That Can Resolve Health Issues In The Community, It Influenced A Shift Toward A Sustainable Action.

       “There was a really huge number of wastes in the community, so do the trash bins. The situation had brought a lot of troubles like a dengue epidemic in 2013.  Therefore, the community began a waste program with Siam Kraft Industry Company Limited, a subsidiary of Packaging Business, SCG, Bureau of Public Health and Environment Region 8 and Public Health Division of Krab Yai Sub-district Municipality. At first, we faced protests from the community due to different opinions. But once put in place, people discovered the program benefits, so it has led to the cooperation of over 300 households. Each household would separate waste for recycling. For example, food waste is converted into fertilizer to produce safe vegetable to generate extra income from sales in neighboring communities. The used milk cartons and fabric softener bags are used to make hats. Glass and plastic bottles are used to grow trees. These recycling efforts led to the winning of the 2nd place of Zero Waste Community Award presented by the Department of Environmental Quality Promotion for three consecutive years since 2016. Nowadays, people in our communities live healthier and happier with dengue-free,” said Mr. Sanan Techadee, Village Headman of Village No.1, Ban Rang Plub, Krab Yai Sub-district, Ban Pong district, Ratchaburi province.

       With A Realization Of Waste Disposal At Source, Wastes Can Be Revalued. The Separation Of Waste Is Promoted As Wastes Are Gold.”

       “At Ban Paen Pong Chai, we no longer have wastes. We had an opportunity to take an educational tour to learn waste management practices in Chiang Mai. We came back to address the issues with the community saying the waste management is not an individual’s responsibility, but everyone’s. It is not a problem that only the community leader or municipality tackling alone. From that day on, the community members voted to approve a waste separation program through Ban Sa Sub-district Municipality and SCG-sponsored recycling waste bank. The goal is to minimize the waste amount through several waste diversions. For example, food waste, leaves, and grass will no longer be burned to reduce pollution that can cause respiratory diseases. These wastes will instead be discarded in a local wisdom bamboo-made “pot rest” fencing around trees. The waste collection in the pot rest will turn into natural fertilizer and keep the soil moisture without watering as well as increasing the sweetness of the fruit. The separated recyclable wastes will be used as materials to make baskets, fans, and hats as part of adding value to the waste to earn extra income. Last year, the community made a total of 63,000 Baht from waste sales. We can trade hazardous waste for eggs with Ban Sa Sub-district Municipality. This collaboration has led to 4-year award winning of waste separation from Ban Sa Sub-district Municipality. Now, when we see any glasses or plastic wastes on the street while driving, we will stop and collect them because these wastes are all gold to us,” said Mr. Winai Saipang, Village Headman of Ban Paen Pong Chai, Village No. 9, Mae Ta district, Lampang province.

       As Waste Is A National Issue, The Solution Must Be Beneficial And Doesn’t Cause Environmental Impact. Problems Must Be Addressed As A Public Matter With Real Actions. 

       “The municipality has promoted the separation of wastes as they are valuable. The key is to educate the community that the price of non-separate waste will be lowered. For example, we can sell 12 unsorted glass bottles for 4 Baht, but if they are properly separated, they will be 8 Baht, twice the price. The community members started to realize the benefits of waste separation; therefore, the municipality encourages the separation of four different waste types: recyclable, hazardous, organic and general wastes. We worked with SCG to establish waste separation station “Participatory Community Center for Waste Material Management of Ban Sa Subdistrict Municipality”. The center allows the community to turn non-recyclable wastes into Refuse Derived Fuel used in SCG’s manufacturing process, an effort that only promotes good environment but also help community to have better income and quality of life,” said Mr. Napapanon Surintho, Permanent Secretary of Ban Sa Sub District Municipality.

       SCG continues to support a behavioral shift to conducting proper waste management at source according to the SCG Circular Way guidelines. SCG put its focus on collaborating with community and building a strong network as a starting point to shape closed-loop waste management in line with the circular economy. The approach will help drive sustainability in the country and a better world for future generations.