In November of 2020, 440 people including Patong Municipality staffers, students and local residents helped to clean up the Patong Bay and Coral Reef. It took them from 9:00 am – 2:00 pm to collect 231 lbs of trash which consisted of fishing nets, glass bottles and various plastic items.
The trash collected was given to The Trash Bank Project which is operated under the Patong Development Foundation where it was sorted and recycled. The Patong Trash Bank was founded about 10 years ago by an employee of the Wongpanich Co. – the biggest recycling company in Thailand. The idea came after seeing children depositing the money they earned from selling recyclable trash in exchange for cash.
Here’s how it works: It acts as a collecting center for recyclable trash and sells it to factories or waste recycle companies by the pound based on the rates of the buyers. The bank then distributes the money to its members who deposited the trash.
Since it’s infancy, in Thailand the trash bank’s operating performance went well and highly succeeded on the community level. Soon after, other provinces came to study how it worked and adopted its principle and model. Most were opened in schools and municipalities. Lately, the trash bank has gained popularity at a wider level for example, universities have become aware of their own waste problems and implemented their own trash project as a result.
Since the trash bank only operates at a community level, technology is being implemented in order to allow the banks to scale their efforts. There are many eco startups coming in to help manage waste disposal and turning trash into cash. Here are a new companies who are paving the way:
Eiam Dee Recycle manages and buys waste from household and office buildings. They donate part of their income to children, the underprivileged and disabled, as well as helping to improve the quality of life in their local community. The important thing is it can solve the trash sorting problem from the source without having to pick through the bins or trash piles which is the traditional way that trash is handled in Saleng, Malaysia.
GooGreen developed an application to raise public awareness and attention on collecting trash. Its principle is similar to the trash bank, however, instead of cash, points are accumulated which can be exchanged for consumer goods.
Do you know of any trash banks in your area? If so, leave a comment below with their information.