From January 1, 2020, Thailand has begun a campaign to ban single-use plastic bags under the Plastic Waste Management Road Map 2018-2030 of the Pollution Control Department. KResearch views that the ban will significantly reduce the amount of single-use plastic bags. It will affect supply chains of the plastic bag industry but create opportunities for other substitute merchandise.
Around 45 billion single-use plastic bags were used annually. KResearch estimates that during the initial stage, the amount of single use plastic bags will be reduced by at least 29 percent or around 13 billion pieces because they are no longer available in department stores, convenience stores, fresh markets in regional cities and grocery stores in some locations. The amount of single-use plastic bags is set to further drop at least 64 percent or 29 billion pieces by 2022 when more businesses in the fresh markets, private sector, street vendors and grocery stores join the campaign.
The decreasing plastic bag consumption affects operators in the supply chains of both big operators and SMEs, and they will need to brace for challenges. The government should help them by launching measures to enable them to adapt to changes during the transition period, especially the SMEs, in terms of funding, marketing or technology. However, since a grocery bag is a necessary item in the consumers' daily life, KResearch views that in 2020, the economic impact from the reduction of single-use plastic bag consumption will represent a gain of 2.191 billion Baht because it creates a business opportunity for eco-friendly substitutes to replace single use plastic bags, especially thick plastic bags, cloth plastic bags and cloth bags. It is expected that the demand for these bags will reach 410 million pieces, translating into a value of around 4.63 billion Baht. In 2022, the overall single-use plastic bag market is expected to fall to negative territory at 295 million Baht because these eco-friendly substitutes have a longer useful life, hence decreasing frequency of purchases. Although the net impact of the single-use plastic bag market will contract in the future, the issues related to environmental sustainability are far more important and cannot be evaluated in monetary terms.