45 Partners Band Together to Drive Circular Economy

45 partners from the government, private sector, and the public, both from Thailand and aboard band together to drive circular economy at “SD Symposium 10 Years: Collaboration for Action.” The goal is to brainstorm on solutions to the crisis of resource constraints by using the circular economy as a major component with the approach of “Resource maximization, Waste Separation, and Proper Disposal” to ensure resource efficiency throughout the manufacturing and consumption cycle. The symposium aims at creating a sustainable business, combating plastic pollution in the oceans, improving the better living of the people in the community, and managing industrial waste. The event has highlighted solutions encompassing infrastructure system, knowledge sharing and innovation and technology development, and waste treatment. The alliance also sets to push forward the proposal on waste management as a national agenda.

Mr. Roongrote Rangsiyopash, President and CEO of SCG, disclosed, “With an ever-growing population the world is expected to reach an estimated 9.7 billion in 2050, resulting in rising consumption demands despite finite resources. The data shows that Thai people produce an average of 1.15 kilogram of rubbish per person, and the waste generation rate is on the surge. In 2018 alone, Thailand contributed to 28 million tons of waste. If lacking proper waste management and disposal practices, wastes will leak into the oceans, triggering the loss of marine biodiversity, which recently evidenced by the death of young dugong Mariam. Hence, the concept of the Circular Economy is a solution to help alleviate these problems as it promotes the regenerative model of make-use-return. This concept also includes the approaches of “resource maximization, waste separation, and proper disposal” to preserve natural resource and pass it to the next generations.

Throughout the past year, SCG has incorporated circular economy principles into business activities with 3 strategies:

  1. Reduced material use and Durability by reducing resource use in the manufacturing and developing products with extended usage duration e.g., micro flute corrugated packaging which is attractive, durable but requires less paper and the development of PE112 plastic resins for submarine pipeline construction to supply freshwater to Koh Samui where the pipes have improved pressure  resistance, thinner walls and less plastic used
  2. Upgrade and Replace by developing innovation to replace existing products and raw materials with new ones that offer higher efficiency while minimizing resource usage or making them recycle-friendly e.g., developing building materials that eliminate waste generation such as modular toilet, precast wall, cut-to-size autoclaved aerated concrete, Fest food packaging to substitute foam container, and flexible packaging that is durable and easily recyclable, and the development of plastic resins used as automotive-components which is lighter in weight yet provide strength and energy-saving benefits
  3. Reuse and Recycle by enhancing recyclability e.g. developing product with higher proportion of recycled materials in the production, partnering with modern retail trade and supermarkets to collect used boxes and paper to increase recycling, and developing plastic formulation which allows a mixture of higher proportion of recycled plastics by leveraging SMX Technology. This innovation can enhance recycled plastic properties which now makes up 30% of plastic resin materials used in the manufacturing.

In 2018, SCG had converted about 313,000 tons of industrial waste per year into renewable raw materials and turned 131,000 tons of industrial waste per year into fuel substitution. In 2019, SCG has continued to integrate circular economy principles into product manufacturing and has set the target of reducing the production of single-use plastic from 46% to 20% by 2025 and increasing the proportion of recyclable plastic packaging to 100% by 2025.

However, to achieve the Circular Economy, government-driven infrastructure development, stringent regulations, and strict waste management will not be enough to enact change. “Collaboration” of all sectors is a crucial element to make the circular economy a reality. It is a pleasure to see the dedication of 45 network partners from 5 global organizations, 3 government agencies, 29 businesses, and 8 schools and communities coming together to create models in compliance with circular economy principles to tangibly maximize resource usage and solve waste problems from upstream to downstream operations.

  • Collaboration for Sustainable Business. Apart from partnering with the global network of The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), the United Nations (UN) and the Thai Chamber of Commerce to implement sustainable business practices, SCG has forged collaborations to develop innovation and technology for driving the Circular Economy. Among the efforts, Construction Industry works in collaboration with Global Cement and Concrete Association (GCCA) to mitigate impacts caused by cement production activities and foster engagement of all stakeholders throughout the value and supply chain. It is committed to promoting the unique properties of concrete as a sustainable, durable, and resilient building material that will answer the needs of an ever-growing population. Besides, it also partners with Circular Economy in Cement Industry (CECI) to embed circular economy into the construction sector with the mission to achieve Material Waste Free in the future. At the local level, it teams up with businesses such as Supalai Public Company Limited by launching Recycled Concrete Road with environmentally friendly approach of replacing the use of natural aggregates with crushing waste concrete; Sansiri Public Company Limited by launching “Construction Waste Reducing Project” and introducing precast wall solutions as replacement for the traditional brickwork system, reducing the use of materials in the installation process by 100%; and Magnolia Quality Development Corporation Limited (MQDC) by creating extra value of construction leftover materials.
    • Packaging Industry has participated in a global collaboration with A Circular Economy for Flexible Packaging (CEFLEX) to shape the direction of flexible packaging as well as developing eco-friendly packaging. It also works in partnership with businesses to recycle used boxes and paper scraps in several sectors: modern retail such as Tesco Lotus, CP All, MAKRO, CPN, Family Mart, Villa Market, Super Cheap and CJ Express, AEON (Thailand); logistics such as DHL, Lazada Express; banking and finance such as KBANK; consumer goods such as Thai Beverage, CP Business Group; real estate development such as Sansiri; and document storage management such as Iron Mountain. Furthermore, it also partnered with S&P to introduce easily-recyclable packaging and promote the design of publicly and environmentally friendly packaging. It also supports income-generating opportunities of community enterprises surrounding the plant by offering leftover paper tapes to make gift baskets.
    • Chemicals Industry has worked in a series partnership with businesses both locally and internationally. Examples include Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation with the development of the reinvented toilet where waste can be reused as soil improvement, IKEA with the establishment of a recycling center to motivate recycling behaviors where SCG helped design environmentally friendly materials for center’s use, Starboard with the development of environmentally friendly materials to feed the manufacturing of Starboard products,  Dow Thailand Group with the development of “Recycled Plastic Road” by using plastics as substitutes of asphalt to construct roads. It has turned such initiative into real projects with Amata Corporation Public Company Limited, SC Asset Public Company Limited, and CP All Public Company Limited. It also collaborates with Bangchak Corporation Public Company Limited to develop Greenovative Lube Packaging in which the method transforms used lubricant containers into post-consumer recycled resins.
  • Collaboration for tackling ocean waste. SCG has launched cleanup in collaboration with a global collaboration with the Alliance to End Plastic Waste (AEPW). SCG is one of the 35 founding members consisting of global organizations aiming to reduce and manage waste problems, especially plastic debris in the oceans. It also co-founded a public-private partnership Thailand PPP Plastic with the Federation of Thai Industries, Plastic Industries Club, to efficiently and sustainably manage plastic waste with the aim to reuse 100% of plastic waste by 2027 and cut the amount of plastic waste no less than 50% by 2027. Furthermore, it has worked with the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources to develop floating litter trap to prevent waste from entering oceans and study how to extract more value from collected waste.
  • Collaboration for better living quality of people in communities. SCG provides education in collaboration with the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources and small-scale fisherfolk. The collaborative network has launch Recycled Fish Home, turning plastic waste to Fish Home. The outcome is not only helping tackle plastic pollution but also improving livestock and coastal marine biodiversity, which provides sustainable income for local fishers. Another collaboration is with communities to share knowledge and promote efficient waste separation and waste management in Ban Rang Plub community and Ban Pong district in Ratchaburi province, Ban Sa sub-district, Mueang Mai subdistrict in Chae Hom district in Lampang province in cooperation with the government agency, Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning, Khot Hin 2 community, Khao Phai community in Muang district, Rayong province, Mod Ta Noi community in Koh Libong sub-district, Kantang district in Trang province and schools and communities in Bang Sue district in Bangkok.
  • Collaboration for industrial waste management. SCG has collaborated with the Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand (IEAT) to eliminate industrial waste in Maptaphut, Rayong province, with Gasification with Ash Melting, a technology from Japan, for the first time in ASEAN and set an ambition to become the Eco World Class with Circular Economy Concept. The initiative is an alternative way to properly eliminate industrial waste and efficiently maximize and reuse waste materials.

In the course of 10 years, SCG has brought public attention to environmental issues and provided exemplary and successful models from worldwide at “SD Symposium” to brainstorm and seek appropriate solutions that fit Thailand’s context. SCG aims to be a driving force to create networks and accelerate the adoption of sustainable development concept at all levels as well as speeding up the circular economy throughout the years, and moving forward. The sustained effort will to truly push Thailand and ASEAN to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” Roongrote concluded.

The “SD Symposium 10 Years: Circular Economy – Collaboration for Action” is held to forge collaboration of all sectors which will be the vital driving force to establish the Circular Economy in Thailand and achieve sustainable development goals. The symposium is honored to host General Prayut Chan-o-cha who joined the meeting to hear the waste management strategy proposal along with representatives from the United Nations, WBCSD and leading organizations from Thailand and other countries to deliver solutions and thoughts with the goal to achieve the Circular Economy. Moreover, the event also featured discussions on lesson learned from success stories of all sectors for further implementation. Over 1,500 participants, comprising executives from the government, small-medium to large business enterprises, academics, NGOs, local and international press, attended the event this year.

SD Symposium 10 Years “Circular Economy: Collaboration for Action”
SD Symposium 10 Years “Circular Economy: Collaboration for Action”

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