To solve the problem of assembling trash in Thailand, one company is turning to the country’s plant life.
Universal Biopack produces packaging to sell to restaurants and manufacturers. But instead of plastic, it uses a mixture of bamboo and cassava, crops found widely across the country.
After rapid development in recent decades, Thailand has become one of the largest economies in Asia. But like many other countries in the region, trying to combat the millions of tons of waste generated each year has been slow.
Universal Biopack CEO Vara-Anong Vichakyothin said: “Waste management is a big problem everywhere.
Related: The company turns 4 billion plastic bottles into clothes
The company is using a technology invented by a university in Bangkok to produce zero-waste packaging. It hopes that it will eventually replace the many foam boxes and plastic bags that end up in huge landfills across Thailand and other Southeast Asian countries.
Its eco-friendly formula took five years to develop and is so adaptable that it can be used to pack things like furniture and even phones. The bamboo it uses is from scraps left over from the making of chopsticks.
In the cities of Bangkok and Chiang Mai, where boxes of takeaway drinks and packets of noodles are scattered on the sidewalks, the company supplies restaurants, organic farmers and other businesses in the food and beverage industry. to drink.
But finding new customers can be difficult.
Takeaway food suppliers in Thailand want to keep costs down in a competitive business with low margins. Asking them to spend more on packaging for environmental reasons is a tough sell.
“The local economy remains unsupportive [this technology]”Universal Biopack founder, Suthep Vichakyothin said.
But that doesn’t stop other companies from entering the sustainable packaging market in Thailand. Like Universal Biopack, they are betting on increasing environmental awareness, which ultimately leads to an increase in demand.
To become more competitive, Suthep’s company is investing. They aim to ramp up production by building a partially automated assembly line at a factory near Bangkok and doubling staffing from 50 to 100.
The goal is to increase the monthly capacity from 300,000 units to one million units.
Related: A Startup Makes Pencils That Can Grow into Vegetables
A lot of demand comes from abroad. One of their customers uses natural packaging for the coconut water they export.
Universal Biopack says it is also receiving interest in its products from other countries, particularly in Scandinavia.
CNNMoney (Hong Kong) First published February 12, 2017: 9:08 PM ET
https://money.cnn.com/2017/02/12/news/thailand-bamboo-cassava-packaging-universal-biopack/index.html?section=money_news_international This Thai company makes food packaging out of bamboo to cut down on trash