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One Step Closer to Mandatory EPR: Thailand's New Draft EPR Law
by Sian Lee at 10:45 in Emerging, Packaging, Environmental

​Last month, the Thai Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment consulted on the Draft Sustainable Packaging Management Act, which would provide the legal basis for introduction of extended producer responsibility (EPR) for packaging in Thailand. If passed into law, the new Draft Act would additionally create the legal basis for future regulations which would ban certain single-use packaging in Thailand.

The Act would signify a monumental shift in Thailand's environmental policy, away from non-binding voluntary initiatives and towards mandatory obligations. But what do we actually know about the contents of the draft law and the legal duties it would impose on producers?

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1. EPR Obligation

The Draft Act would require producers to ensure the recovery and recycling of packaging waste, in accordance with the principle of EPR. Obligated producers would be able to delegate responsibility for packaging waste management to a producer responsibility organisation (PRO), who have received Ministry certification.

The Draft Act currently defines packaging as any material used for the purpose of wrapping, packing, transporting, protecting or promoting the sales of a product. The exact scope of packaging subject to obligations of the Act would be decided by way of accompanying regulation. However, we do know that the Act would require the Minister to prepare a policy plan to promote sustainable packaging management based on 5 broad packaging types, which would include glass, metal, paper, plastic and composite materials.

2. Future scope for bans on certain single-use packaging

If passed, the Act would mandate the formation of a Sustainable Packaging Management Committee. The Committee, together with the Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, would be granted the legal right to issue prohibitions on the production or import of certain single-use packaging in Thailand. The Committee and the Minister would need to specify by way of accompanying regulation the exact scope of prohibited single-use packaging.

Under existing Thai legislation, a prohibition on certain single-use plastic packaging in national parks has been in force since April 2022. However, this ban is limited in geographical scope. The new Draft Act would provide the Minister with the necessary legal foundation to issue wide-reaching prohibitions across the territory of Thailand, for single-use plastic types decided by the Minister and the newly formed Committee.

3. What's next for the Draft Act? The timeline for packaging EPR implementation

Whilst the Draft Act may yet be subject to alteration, it is clear that EPR is a core strategy endorsed by the Ministry as a means of tackling plastic pollution. The Ministry have provided a 3-year timeline for the development of EPR-related infrastructure, including the development of a centralised digital system for producer registration.

Thailand's overarching approach to waste management is guided by various key roadmaps and frameworks, including the Action Plan on Plastic Waste Management (2023-2027). The Action Plan considers establishment of EPR in Thailand a key future priority. The drafting of the new Act represents an important first step towards the introduction of legally enforceable, mandatory EPR obligations for producers.

Next steps: How to ensure you are up to date with the latest EPR legislation

In a rapidly evolving waste policy landscape, it can be challenging to keep up to date with the latest developments in packaging legislation. As we continue to closely monitor the proposed development of EPR in Thailand, it remains vital for producers to stay ahead of the curve and anticipate future changes in the law.

To find out how you can receive updates on the latest emerging legislation, contact us today! Our Global Online Regulatory Portal, ENVI™ Lite, can additionally assist you in navigating passed legislation in 144 countries across the globe.

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