Some 2,000 residents currently participate in the Eco Digiclean Klongtoei pilot, bringing their separated plastic waste to eight collection points in the district. Workers log the deposited waste, and the app issues them credits that can be redeemed as cash.
The plastic waste is then put up for sale on the app. Buyers – typically independent collectors, junk shops, and recyclers – make their bids for the bales on offer. Once a bid has been accepted, the waste is delivered, and the route is tracked in real-time.
Eco Digiclean Klongtoei was started by the Federation of Thai Industries, PPP Plastics, and Thailand Business Council for Sustainable Development in 2021. It is supported by the Alliance. The app and drop-off points were piloted in September 2022 and cover residential districts, department stores, hospitals, and offices. The purpose of the project is to learn what it will take to motivate different groups of people to sort, recycle and trade in plastic waste. Through data collected on the app, behavioural patterns can be identified – providing a starting point to optimise local approaches to recycling.
As of May 2023, more than 200 tonnes of plastic waste have been collected.
With a population of over 100,000, Klongtoei is an ideal place to gather insights into the drivers behind diverse recycling behaviours, as well as the effectiveness of various collection mechanisms. Because of its proximity to the Chao Phraya River, major port facilities, and a major market, the district generates a lot of plastic waste with the potential to leak into the environment.
While Thailand already has waste management systems in place, most consumers do not know how to sort their waste and most of it ends up in landfills. To help accelerate behaviour change, collectors educate consumers about how to properly sort their waste, allowing for more of it to be channelled towards recycling.
Given Thailand’s goal to achieve 100% recycling of targeted plastic waste by 2027, the Eco Digiclean Klongtoei model may be one way of helping the country achieve its ambitions. Bangkok’s governor has already recognised the value of the pilot, endorsed rolling out the model in the city’s Pathum Wan, Phraya Thai, and Nongkham districts.