Where does Phuket’s waste go?

Waste collected by official rubbish trucks is generally taken to the incinerator and landfill located at Saphan Hin in Phuket town. Some waste does not get disposed properly and ends up in illegal open landfills. These should be reported to your local OrBorTor office.

How much waste is disposed in Phuket every day?

In 2019, the incinerator received over 900 tons of rubbish per day, although it only has the capacity to burn 700 tons. Whatever could not be burned is dumped into the nearby landfill, hopefully to be burned on another day when volumes decrease slightly. Approximately 60% of the waste received is organic – yard trimmings and food from markets, restaurants and households. Organic waste has a high water content which reduces the temperature of the incinerator making it burn less efficiently and completely.

Is the incinerator a good solution for managing rubbish?

The best solution is to reduce, reuse, recycle, and compost. If the incinerator were only burning non-recyclable plastic or paper packaging and within its 700-ton capacity, it would be an OK solution, as it also produces electricity. But keeping organic waste out of the incinerator is critical to reducing emissions and residual ash.

Why is there so much rubbish on the beach? Where does it come from?

The majority (80%) of plastic pollution in the oceans and washing up on our beaches comes from the land. It may come from rivers, city drainage systems, littering or poorly managed landfills. The remaining waste comes from the fishing industry (nets, floats, rubbish from boats) and other shipping or boating traffic. Asia contributes 81% of the plastic waste found in the ocean. You can learn more here.

Who is responsible for local waste pick-up?

The Tambon management or local OrBorTor are responsible for local waste collection – from houses and businesses. There are also private companies that collect and deliver waste to the incinerator directly, although they have been known to dump rubbish illegally on vacant land.

Is food waste a problem in Phuket?

Food waste (pre-table and post-table) is a big problem in Phuket, as well as around the world. The UN estimates that at least 30% of food produced is either lost in the supply chain or wasted through retail, hospitality, and households. This loss translates into 8% of global CO2 emissions. Especially sad is that while 1.3 trillion tons of food is wasted or lost every year, 800 million people are considered food insecure, including many in Thailand and Phuket.  Wasted food also means wasted land, seed, fertilizer, pesticide, labour, transportation, and packaging. For more information on an organization focused on reducing food waste in Phuket and elsewhere in Thailand, check out Scholars of Sustenance.

How can I help make Phuket more sustainable?

Here are a few ideas: