Closing Plastic Circularity Loop: CirPlas
In Asia, one of the critical challenges of plastic recycling today, is at the consumer site. Collecting, segregating, and cleaning plastic waste from the public is complex and costly, and this makes recycled plastic materials more expensive than virgin materials. And the SMEs in Thailand are leading the way to develop solutions. CirPlas aims to build a Plastic Circularity Hub in ASEAN.
Leveraging its 16 years of industry expertise and global sales network in recycled plastic products, Qualy's (qualydesign.com) owner Mr Thosaphol Suppametheekulwat recently spun off CirPlas with a vision of building a Plastics Circularity Platform in Southeast Asia.
Qualy adopts eco-design to produce artistic and functional products from which consumers could develop a better awareness of plastic pollution in the ocean and land. Qualy has been working with local communities and informal waste collectors to collect, segregate and clean plastic waste. Qualy processes those plastic wastes, design, produce, and sell products to 50 countries around the world.
In 2020, Qualy recycled 16 tons of used fishing net bought from fishermen on the south coast of Thailand with its local communities through the Net Free Seas project supported by the Environmental Justice Foundation. In addition, it has consumed 20 tons of recycled PET to produce Qualy branded products that are sold worldwide.
CirPlas is building a network of collectors and educating consumers to segregate different plastics (including single used plastic bags and PET cups/bottles) which will be cleaned and mechanically processed. It supplies Post-consumed recycled (PCR) plastic materials to its network of business partners as well as its mother company Qualy for producing new products.
Currently, CirPlas is building a network of SME partners in Thailand that have a combined capacity of 10 tons per day of processing recycled plastics including PET, PP, PE, PA, and ABS. It aims to grow its capacity with new capital injection in the near future.
CirPlas and its partner aim to add value to plastic waste, keep waste away from the sea and land and provide income to the local community. To further scale up its practices, it is building a B2B and C2B2B model: collect, segregate, clean, and process near the waste source to improve the efficiency of recycled materials processing and improve the competitiveness of the recycled materials business.