Minimizing Plastic Use in Bangkok

Published on: April 07, 2019

Looking for ways to cut down on your plastic waste, especially in a place like Bangkok where even fruits packed by nature are removed and re-packed in plastic? Here are some eco-friendly alternatives.

By Ema Naito-Bhakdi

Thailand is notorious for ingenious and excessive use of plastic bags. I still remember being amazed the first time I bought a coke from a local vendor and was handed it with ice and a straw in a plastic bag.

And common are complaints especially among expat parents how everything in Thailand seems to come in or with plastic bags, straws, and cutlery.

Thanks to viral photos in 2018 about the plastic destroying our earth, we are seeing efforts to use less, even in Thailand. So here is a run-down on items that are available in Bangkok to help us cut back on plastic waste.

[ List of places to shop at the bottom of the article ]

RELATED: Don’t miss Angela Cosgrove’s article on ‘Conscious Living: Our Journey to Zero-Waste Living‘ — and take note of her point that we shouldn’t rush out to buy the latest ‘eco-friendly’ ‘sustainable’ goodies, but first make use of what we have in our homes already.

Credit www.quotecatalog.com

Reusable straws

Check the reviews on which ones are easiest to clean and how they feel in your mouth. 

At pretty much all the shops listed on this page, plus eco-conscious restaurants like Broccoli Revolution, La Monita, Patom, etc.

Credit: RePlanetMe

Bamboo cutlery

Carry these around and avoid plastic cutlery. 

At Refill Station, RePlanetMe, ReReef, others.

Stainless steel water bottles

Bring your own water so you don’t have to buy bottled. 

At Lazada, AliExpress, department stores…everywhere!

Credit – Zero Waste Thailand

Cloth produce bags

Put your produce in these reusable cloth bags to be weighed. It’s best if you can find ones made from natural fibers, rather than nylon. 

At  Refill Station, ReReef, Zero Waste Thailand, Aliexpress others.

Image from AliExpress

Silicone storage bags

One type requires you to slide a separate plastic piece on to tightly seal; another has the ‘zip’ built-in…but you may want to check the reviews on the tendency to leak. 

At Lazada, AliExpress, Refill Station, others.

Image from AliExpress

Reusable silicone lids

Instead of cling wrap, seal bowls and plates of food with these reusable lids. Works well for glass and ceramic cups and bowls, and can withstand heat. 

At Lazada, Refill Station, others.

Credit – SuperBee Wax Wraps

Beeswax wraps

Use these washable wraps instead of cling wrap to cover foods and plates. Not good for heat. Thai-made brands: Superbee (superbee.me, FB: @superbeewaxwraps) and Wrappini (www.wrappini.com, FB: @wrappini).

Photo by Ema Naito

Bulk items: Liquid soap, shampoo, conditioner, detergents, also grains, nuts

Buying these in regular packaging create a lot of plastic waste. Instead, bring your own container and buy the contents in bulk. We’d love to see more of these around town, but it’s great that there are a few out there. 

At Novessence (soap, all-natural cleaning products), Tost & Found, Refill Station, ZeroMoment Refillery (also baking ingredients like flour).

Credit – Khadija Dawn Carryl via Flickr

Shampoo bars

You can get shampoo but eliminate the plastic bottle by using shampoo bars. Don’t forget to rinse afterwards with diluted apple or white vinegar to get rid of remaining scum and add shine. 

At Bangkok Soap Opera, LUSH, Novessence, Refill Station, Zero Waste Thailand.

Credit – RePlanetMe

Bamboo toothbrush

Another toiletry item with an alternative to plastic: toothbrushes made from bamboo!

At Refill Station, RePlanetMe, ReReef, ZeroMoment Refillery, Zero Waste Thailand, Lazada.

Credit – Zero Waste Thailand

Bamboo cotton buds

Did you even think about the plastic in regular cotton buds? I certainly didn’t.

At ZeroMoment Refillery, Zero Waste Thailand, others.

Where to Shop

Bangkok Soap Opera
Web: www.soapoperabkk.com, FB: @bangkoksoapopera
Location: 46/3 Phum Chit Alley (Sukhumvit Soi 46, BTS Phrakhanong)

Novessence
Web: novessence.com, FB: @novessencebkk
Location: 23/6 Soi Napasab Yak 2 (off of Sukhumvit Soi 36, BTS Thonglo)

Refill Station
Web: www.refillstationbkk.com, FB: @refillstationbkk
Location: Sukhumvit Soi 77/1 (in Better Moon Cafe, near BTS Onnut; parking at Big C) and on the 2nd floor of 101 The Third, Sukhumvit Soi 101 (BTS Punnawithi).

RePlanetMe
Web: replanet.me, FB/IG/LINE: RePlanetMe

ReReef
FB: @rereef

Tost & Found
FB: @tostandfound.seenspace
Location: Seenspace Thonglor, 251/1 Soi Thonglor 13

ZeroMoment Refillery
FB: @zeromomentrefillery
Location: @home residence, Rama 9 Soi 41, Soi Ramkhamhaeng 24 Yaek 16 (behind The Nine mall)

Zero Waste Thailand
FB: @th.zerowaste

Lazada.co.th

AliExpress.com

 

About the Author

Ema is a freelance English editor (www.theclarityeditor.com), who worked in international development and has been on the BAMBI News team since 2014. Raising three cross-cultural kids, she sings classical music, blogs at www.crossculturalfamily.com (日本語ブログ: emanate28jpn.blogspot.com), and has finally started to try and cut down on plastic.

The views expressed in the articles in this magazine are not necessarily those of BAMBI committee members and we assume no responsibility for them or their effects.

BAMBI News welcomes volunteer contributors to our magazine. Please contact editor@bambiweb.org.

 

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