EARTH Thailand

Customs to bar entry of 12,000 tonnes of imported e-waste

Bangkok Post 24 July 2018 | Wichit Chantanusornsiri

Importers drag feet on container clearance

The Customs Department plans to redirect at least 12,000 tonnes of plastic scrap and electronic-waste (e-waste) after importers failed to process customs clearance procedures on time.

There are 2,185 cargo containers loaded with plastic scrap and e-waste being held by the Customs Department - 2,100 carrying plastic waste and 85 loaded with e-waste.

Six hundred containers filled with 12,000 tonnes of plastic scrap and e-waste will be redirected after the importers did not perform customs clearance within 45 days. These containers are classified in the Customs Department's F-list, said department spokesman Chaiyut Khamkhun.

The Customs Department said containers that have not passed the clearance procedure within 30 days are defined as A-list, after which the department gives an additional 15 days for the importers to conduct the process.

When the importers still fail to claim them, these containers are moved to the F-list.

Mr Chaiyut said an additional 675 containers loaded with plastic and e-waste are on the A-list.

Thailand imported 161,000 tonnes of plastic waste in 2017 and 313,000 tonnes between January and May.

On July 20, the Customs Department redirected 54 containers loaded with plastic scrap and e-waste. Most of them were shipped from the US, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Thailand has become a new dumping ground for plastic scrap and e-waste after China banned the import of such refuse last year.

Thailand allows firms to import e-waste for recycling, but some of it is shipped into the country without permission or beyond quotas, and large amounts have been found in illegal disposal factories in recent crackdowns.

Plastic waste is subject to a 30% import duty, while e-waste is waived. The waste importers must have licences granted by the Department of Industrial Works (DIW).

Laem Chabang port is the main gateway to Thailand, bringing in 90% of the imported waste.

The DIW last month suspended the licences for five factories found to have breached the conditions involving the use of plastic and electronic waste for recycling, and it has promised to ban local factories from recycling plastic and electronic waste to discourage factories from importing waste into Thailand and help authorities deal with the increasing amount of waste.

Bangkok Port has banned containers loaded with plastic scrap, e-waste and hazardous waste since July 2.