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19 - 22 June 2024

Thailand Moves toward Sustainable Economy as a Global Leader of "Bioplastics" Production

• In recent years, Thailand has become a key player in the global bioplastics industry with continuous growth due to support from the government, abundant supplies of raw materials, and creation of sustainable innovations.

• Thailand has been offering products made from environmentally friendly and sustainable alternatives to traditional plastics, and has been ranked as the world’s second “bioplastics center.”

Behind this success in bioplastics production is Thailand’s abundant resources. These include sugarcane, cassava, and corn, all of which are essential raw materials. This abundance helps Thailand to be able to produce bioplastics at competitive prices. At the same time, the Thai government plays an active role in promoting the growth of the bioplastics industry, which is one of the target industries identified in the BCG Model. Strategic policies and incentives are used to promote investment, such as the improvement of regulations to facilitate the development of this industry. Some examples include the revocation of the law on the distance of factory location so that factories that produce biochemicals and ethanol can be built near the existing sugar factories, and the Green Tax Expense measure which reduces corporate taxes by 1.25 times, thus incentivizing various businesses to use bioplastics as substitutes of traditional plastics at least 10% annually.


In addition, Thailand’s commitment to research and development has pushed the country to the forefront of bioplastics innovation. Cooperation between government agencies, higher education institutions, and private enterprise have led to substantial advances in biopolymer technology which improves the quality
and functionality of bioplastics. Such commitment to continuous improvement has enabled Thai companies to offer a wide range of bioplastic products to meet
global demand.


Meanwhile, Thailand’s strong industrial infrastructure has supported the entire bioplastic value chain from the production and processing of raw materials to production and distribution. More importantly, there is also a very strong industrial network such as the Thai Bioplastic Industry Association which was originated from the integration of leading companies in the field of bioplastics. This establishment led to coordination between raw material producers, plastic pellet manufacturers, plastic molders, traders, and consumers in an environment that promotes cooperation by creating public awareness of the benefits of bioplastics.


With these strong advantages, Thailand’s efficiency, cost reduction, and competency in the global bioplastics market have been achieved. Moreover, it helps Thai bioplastics industry to align with the increasing demand for sustainable alternative materials from consumers around the world.


As for progress from Thailand's biological industry development measures for the years 2018 - 2027, the half-plan period has noteworthy points of interest which is the measures to accelerate domestic investment in the biological industry in the country to at least 190,000 million baht. At present, it is reported that an investment of 28,440 million baht has been spent in the biological industry in areas with potential. The remaining 153,340 million baht would be subsidized by the Board of Investment of Thailand (BOI). A portion of this subsidies was already granted in 2022 to a total of 211 projects valued at 62,572 million baht.

At the moment, investment funds from various mega projects have been distributed in various industrial estates throughout the country. Some examples include the Bioeconomy Industrial Estate project by Mitr Phol Sugar in Khon Kaen with an investment value of 29,705 million baht which is under consideration to expand investment to further produce ethanol such as bio-jet fuel. In Tak, Kalasin, Chaiyaphum, and the BioHub Asia project in Chachoengsao by Biomatlink, the investment value of 57,600 million baht has been procured to develop a smart eco-industrial area to support 54 factories. Another example is the Nakhon Sawan Biocomplex project in Nakhon Sawan by GKBI with an investment value 41,000 million baht.


The Thailand Bioplastics Industry Association (TBIA) has disclosed that Thailand will increase its production of bioplastic pellets to 375,000 - 400,000 tons annually in the next few years. This statement has reflected the lively atmosphere of the industry. Currently, Thailand's large private companies have already begun to collaborate with large foreign private sectors such as NatureWorks, a joint venture between Cargill from the United States and PTT Global Chemical (GC), Thailand's largest petrochemical company. NatureWorks is now constructing a biodegradable PLA plastic plant which has a production capacity of 75,000 tons per year and is expected to start its first operation in 2025. Another joint venture between a Brazilian bioplastics giant Braskem and SCG Chemicals, a subsidiary of SCG of Thailand, will also set up bioplastic production plants with a production capacity of 200,000 tons annually, and is expecting this facility to be operational within the next few years.


At the moment, Thailand's current production capacity for bioplastics is 95,000 tons annually, and there are plans to increase production by another 75,000 tons per year, with over 90% of the production capacity intended for export while the remaining 10% for domestic consumption.


The bioplastics is a developing field, and InterPlas Thailand Blog will continue to deliver interesting topics like this and more to you. Keep up on all the latest news with us and mark your calendar for InterPlas Thailand 2024, the 31st edition of ASEAN’s Most Comprehensive Exhibition on Technologies for Plastics Manufacturing which will be organized on 19 - 22 June 2024 at BITEC, Bangkok.