7-Eleven stores in Thailand have stopped giving plastic bags to shoppers since yesterday, 25 November, in preparation of the nationwide plastic bag ban that will begin on 1 January 2020
"Starting 25 November, we will stop giving plastic bags to 7-Eleven customers at 137 pilot branches scattered nationwide," said Suwit Kingkaew who is the senior vice president of sustainable development at CP All, the company which operates the convenience store chain in Thailand.
"This pilot programme will get us ready for the 'no plastic bag' policy to be employed at the start of next year at all branches of 7-Eleven," he said, as quoted by The Nation.
However, the use of plastic bags is still allowed for some products, including hot foods, wet foods, meats, and fruit
Out of the country's 10,300 stores, the 137 branches involved in the trial will display posters to let customers know that they should bring their own bags when shopping there.
"If customers don't have their own bags, 7-Eleven also sells high-quality fabric bags at a reasonable price," said Suwit.
Large retailers, departmental stores, and plastic manufacturers in Thailand have agreed to stop handing out single-use plastic bags to customers starting next year
According to Bangkok Post, the country's environment minister Varawut Silpa-archa hopes that this collaboration will help Thailand leave the list of major generators of waste and sea garbage in the world.
"This type of campaign should have been done long ago. We have spent so much time trying to negotiate. At last, we made it," said Varawut when the agreement was announced in September.
In addition, styrofoam food packages and other single-use plastic items including straws and cups, will be banned by the start of 2022.
A campaign like this shows that Thailand, ranked sixth in the world for generating sea waste, is attempting to reduce plastic waste
Of this number, half are from malls, supermarkets, and convenience stores, while the other half comes from traditional markets and street vendors.
The cooperation of retail titans and department stores could help reduce single-use plastic usage in the country by 30%, said Thailand's environment minister.
Malaysia is also striving towards becoming a zero single-use plastic nation by 2030: