Each year, more than 8 million tons of plastic are thrown into the ocean, mostly single-use pieces, and accumulated plastic in the ocean is estimated at 150 million tons. If the situation continues, "by 2050 there will be more plastic in the oceans than there are fish".
Thailand is among the world's biggest contributors of ocean waste, prompting the government to launch the plastic waste management roadmap (2018-2030) that targets to replace single-use plastic with environmental-friendly materials within 2022 and 100% recycling within 2027. The approaches will decrease plastic to landfills by approximately 780,000 tons a year, cut waste management budgets by Bt3,900 million annually, and reduce greenhouse gases by 1.2 million tons of CO2 equivalents. The tough rule for 2020 is department stores, supermarkets and convenience stores must no longer use plastic bags.
Charoen Pokphand Foods PLC (CPF) marks its collaboration with the plastic waste campaign through a sustainable packaging policy. The goals are CPF’s packaging must be 100% reusable, recyclable, upcyclable or compostable and within 2025, its business units in Thailand will stop using non-environmental-friendly or unnecessary plastic packaging. Overseas business units will follow suit within 2030.
To achieve the goals, CPF outlines 4 main guidelines: 1) Promote substitution items from sustainably-managed sources 2) Through take-back system, support the recycle system for used packaging or the generation of power from the packaging 3) Raise the percentage of recyclable materials in each packaging segment, where possible, without compromising food quality and safety, and 4) develop multiple-use patterns for packaging in the production lines or transportation operations.
Mr. Wuthichai Sithipreedanant, CPF’s senior vice president for corporate social responsibility and sustainable development, said that CPF has continually reduced plastic in the production process through investment in and development of green innovations, to reduce plastic waste throughout the value chain of all businesses as guided by the Circular Economy concept. Plastic consumption has been cut by more than 28,000 tons, reducing greenhouse gases by over 97,000 tons of CO2 equivalents. Contributing to this success are various business operations.
The livestock feed business started replacing plastic bags with Bulk Feed Tank in 2013 and the replacement rate is currently 62%. Such practice is replicated in overseas units in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, the Philippines, India, Turkey and Russia. The aquaculture feed business have replaced plastic bags with Q-Pass Tank to transport shrimp larvae to customers. The integrated broiler businesses have replaced plastic bags with stainless steel trucks to transfer products within the production processes.
Last but not least, CPF was the first company in Thailand in 2015 that developed bioplastic trays from natural and degradable polylactic acid (PLA), for fresh pork and frozen chicken products.
“CPF is determined to optimize natural resource consumption. We support Thailand’s plastic waste roadmap and UN Sustainable Development Goal 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development,” Mr. Wuthichai said.
CPF’s retail and restaurant business also supports degradable packaging, with emphasis on redesign and maximization detailed as follows;
- Fresh chicken bags, formerly made of multi-layered plastic, is redesigned with single-layer plastic, hence reducing plastic by 43% without affecting food quality and safety. The material is also fully recyclable.
- Boxes and trays for CP Selection Cage Free eggs are made of 100%-recycled papers.
- CP-branded wanton packaging is made of food-grade plastic, recyclable and safe for consumers.
- Five Star chain packs roasted chicken in paper boxes instead of plastic bags and plastic-coated paper buckets are used for roasted and fried chicken, reducing plastic use by 93%.
- Chester’s Grill uses paper boxes and glasses for take-away items and is introducing PBS-coated paper Snack Box which degrades faster than PE-coated papers.
- Star Coffee serves with 100% biodegradable glasses, straws and glass covers.
- CP Fresh Mart teams up with Thailand’s startup, GEPP, which specializes in waste management to build an exemplary plastic-recycling community. Consumers are encouraged to take part in proper waste sorting and trade plastic waste with chicken eggs. CP Fresh Mart also launches “Say No to Plastic Bags When Shopping a Few Items” Project and sells products without plastic bags on Wednesdays.
As a leading world-class food producer, CPF is committed to collaborate with all parties under Thailand’s 20-year roadmap (2017-2036) that highlights growth and environmental-friendly wellbeing as well as UN Sustainable Development Goal 12: Responsible consumption and production. The Circular Economy concept is the key towards the goals.