The Department of Industrial Works (DIW) in Thailand has announced that it will delay the granting of new waste import licenses for scrap plastic and e-waste ahead of a likely ban.
According to the Bangkok Post newspaper, DIW deputy chief Banjong Sukreeta told a news conference that the country will prevent factories from recycling plastic and electronic waste. As a result, this means the factories will not be able to import plastic and e-waste for recycling.
The Minister said that under the 1992 Factory Act, DIW is authorised to forbid domestic factories from using plastic or electronic waste in their production processes.
He added that DIW is preparing to initiate this ban and that it was being looked into, as revealed by REB Market Intelligence on Monday. It was also revealed at the time that the country was considering 100% inspections of containers with these materials in them. But this already seems to have been superceded by the Minister.
DIW will delay issuing new import licenses to prevent any more recycled plastic or e-waste from entering the country.
The latest development appears to have followed DIW suspended the import licenses of five factories that had been found to have breached the regulations for importing waste plastics and e-waste.
A particular container destined for one of these factories was found to contain capacitors, and testing will now take place to determine whether these are hazardous under the Basel Convention.
According to the Bangkok Post, Thailand Customs Department spokesman Chaiyut Khamkhun said that almost 400 containers are currently awaiting inspection on the belief they contain illegal waste.
The owners of these containers have 30 days to claim them, or they will be opened for inspection, he said.
In Bangkok port, 89 containers have been left awaiting collection after import, while 300 unclaimed containers were at Laemchabang port.
Shipping lines at these ports have already announced that recycled plastic scrap will no longer be accepted at these ports, along with Songhkia until further notice.