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If You’re Eating Shellfish, You’re Eating Plastic

Categories: Planet, Recommended Reading, Sea, Waste
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Microscopic marine organisms like these are encountering a growing volume of microplastic pollution. Fibers from synthetic clothes are a major source of microplastic pollution. Dr. Richard Kirby, Supplied 11 September 2017

Sarah Dudas doesn’t mind shucking an oyster or a clam in the name of science.

But sit down with her and a plate of oysters on the half-shell or a bucket of steamed Manila clams, and she’ll probably point out a bivalve’s gonads or remark on its fertility.

And lately, the shellfish biologist is making other unappetizing comments to her dinner party guests—about plastics in those shellfish.

But tracking the origins of tiny plastic particles in a big ocean is new territory. So Dudas turned to Peter Ross, who has studied the effects of ocean pollution on sea life for 30 years.

“We’ve long known that plastic and debris can be a problem for ocean life,” said Ross, director of the Vancouver Aquarium’s Ocean Pollution Research Program.

Read the full article on the research done by Dudas and Ross here.

by  for Oregon Public Broadcasting.


Photo credit: Shutterstock

Sharing has become a main driver for our economy. Using underutilised assets allows us to improve efficiency, sustainability and community. Through user-generated web content, and with the growing popularity of renting goods rather than buying them, consumers are becoming increasingly savvy, connected, and conscious.

Here are some ways to become a part of this movement:

  • Check out these 14 pioneers of the “share economy” to learn more about what’s out there already.
  • Break it down to a more personal level and incorporate sharing in your everyday life to improve your sustainability efforts on a smaller scale yet with a bigger and long lasting impact.

Do you want to go on a journey to become more sustainable or even ultimately adapt a zero waste lifestyle, but don’t know where to start? Sharing knowledge and tips within a community of like-minded people is the key to success. Consider these three steps to get rolling:

  1. Get to know your neighbourhood: Explore the area you live in to see which services and goods are available locally. Visit nearby markets and keep your eyes open for small businesses that offer local and organic products but may not necessarily have their own brick and mortar store.
  2. Attend events to learn and connect: Browse for festivals, workshops or other sustainability-related events in your neighbourhood or city. Make sure to green your commute when you go. This is an opportunity to connect with local businesses offering organic or sustainable sourced goods and services. Building relationships is essential in the process of creating a stronger community, as knowledge and updates can be shared and accessed more easily in the future. Contribute to the conversation by sharing what you have previously discovered and learned about your neighbourhood.
  3. Grow your community: Raise awareness about causes that matter to you and invite friends and family to join you in an initiative, challenge or at the next event. Start conversations that encourage others to rethink their own behaviour and actions, and support them to change and improve their lifestyles in a sustainable matter.

Walking the talk is not always easy and you may face difficulties, but remember that together you can tackle every challenge more easily!


On December 20, 2017, the sustainability team at PATA held a waste management workshop for PATA staff at PATA headquarters. We invited Gili Back, Sustainability Manager at Khiri Travel, as guest speaker to share best practice examples for waste management in a business environment here in Bangkok.

We kicked off the lunch with a delicious lunch from The Lunch Box, initiated and run by Gili Back. To reduce packaging waste from individual servings, we had a buffet-style lunch, served in reusable serving bowls with reusable plates and cutlery. Making a conscious choice about the food we served, we tried three different vegan lunch options, and encouraged PATA staff to try a dietary shift while thinking about the ingredients in our food and the impact eating meat makes on our environment.

Gili shared recycling practices and alternatives to single use disposable plastic that are available here in Thailand. She shared helpful tips for how to be more sustainable not only in the office but also at home. Gili then provided insights about how to correctly separate and recycle at the source, such as encouraging everyone to reduce and ultimately avoid plastic use by saying no to single use plastic straws and plastic bags. Gili explained the differences between recycling, composting, and disposal for a better understanding of waste separating practices. She also addressed common misconceptions about bioplastics, such as that bio based plastics are always biodegradable, and fossil-based plastics are never biodegradable or compostable.

Veronika, PATA’s Sustainability & Social Responsibility Associate then shared some astounding facts about waste in Bangkok. Did you know that Bangkokians use 8.1 million plastic bags per day? Learning this, we aim to do our part to improve our sustainability efforts at PATA by introducing new waste separation guidelines.

To put our new knowledge into practice, everyone participated in a fun team activity. Teams raced to correctly separate a bag filled with different types of waste from the office.

The winning team explained how they separated their waste to the other teams. We also discussed items that some teams weren’t sure how to categorise. Everyone received a reusable tumbler/water bottle carry bag as prize and was invited to personalise it. We then took our newly separated and repurposed it to create beautiful decorations for this holiday season.

Following this workshop, we introduced new colour-coded bins that are now in in office pantry to help everyone separate and recycling waste correctly in the future.


Credit: Singularity Hub

Every year, eight million metric tons of plastic enter the ocean, threatening just about every marine species and ecosystem. As the global population grows and countries develop, this is only going to increase, eventually threatening us as well—if it isn’t already.

Founded in 2013 by Boyan Slat, an 18-year-old from the Netherlands, The Ocean Cleanup has been dubbed “the largest cleanup in history.” With the help of a growing list of international partners as well as some advanced technology, Ocean Cleanup’s mission is to help remove the five trillion pieces of plastic currently in the ocean, with deployment scheduled for next year.

In August 2017, the project finalized the design for a u-shaped buoy made of high-density polyethylene nearly two kilometers in length, with a screen extending a few meters below. The system will be positioned based on a series of data points like ocean currents, weather, and location of the plastic and nets. These data points are fed into an algorithm to determine the buoy’s ideal point of deployment.

Read the full article on the massive project to clean up the ocean here.

By  for the Singularity Hub.


Bangkok’s Fight Against Plastic Waste

Categories: Blog Posts, Southeast, Waste
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by Juliane Little, Account Executive, Precious Plastics Bangkok





Did you know that plastic doesn’t actually decompose? Over time it’ll start to break down into smaller pieces called microplastics; however, it’ll never fully be removed from our planet.

So how do we expect to tackle this ever-growing issue about plastic waste? While there is no short or easy answer, there are steps we can begin to take towards a brighter, better future.

Let me first introduce myself… My name is Juliane Little and I’m an expat, who has lived in Thailand for just over 2 years now. It was my love for adventure, the ocean, and beauty that brought me all the way from the USA to this beautiful country. Within a short few months, I started to notice there is a huge issue with plastic consumption and recycling in Thailand. This plastic waste comes in all shapes and sizes and is used by teachers, construction workers, people on holiday and even by myself.

Plastic is the ultimate convenience. It’s cheap to make and buy, it’s extremely versatile, and it’s strong. All of these benefits make it easy to forget the potential harm one straw or bottle cap can actually do. We assume that once we dispose if it, it magically disappears. However, we are starting to realize the harsh truth and it’s coming back to bite us (quite literally). Our oceans and lands are being overrun with waste, and animals have turned to plastic as a source of food. There are already traces of plastic in the fish that we are consuming. Scientists have even predicted that by the year 2050 – there will be more plastic in our oceans than fish (by weight).

Ocean Marina, Pattaya, Thailand

After some random web searching, I came across a plastic recycling project, which I immediately thought, “this is what Bangkok needs, this is what the world needs.” I’ve found that many people don’t get involved in volunteer work or conservation efforts, because they don’t know where to start. Trust me – it’s hard, especially living in a foreign country!

Thanks to Dave Hakkens, that is about to change.

Precious Plastics is a project created by Dave Hakkens, which helps people around the world set up their own local plastic workshops. Hakkens’ open source website gives A to Z instructions on how to build all the machines needed to break down plastic and turn it into something new. The possibilities are endless and the creativity doesn’t end on their website. The hope of this project is to encourage upcycling and provide an educational work place for the community.

I have decided to tackle the project and create a Previous Plastics workshop here in Bangkok. Our mission for the Bangkok workshop is to educate the community on plastic waste and consumption. We would achieve this by holding workshops around how to properly use our recycling machines and turn plastic back it back into raw material. This can then be used to create new tools and objects for use and even to sell. During these workshops we will provide tips on avoiding one-time use plastic and lowering your plastic waste footprint! Once you are properly trained on safety and usage, you’ll have free access to the workshop where you are able to upcycle whatever you can think of.

While this project is in its initial stages, we have already had a lot of positive feedback from the community and people who are eager to support in anyway possible. Our next step is to build the machines and find them a temporary home.

If you are interested in getting involved, please reach out to me personally or follow us on Facebook! What we need the most are people who are passionate about saving the planet and reducing plastic pollution. There are many steps we need to take to get this project off the ground and I would love to have you join our team. Feel free to follow the page for updates on our project and also tips to becoming more eco-friendly.

Through the Precious Plastic’s Bangkok Project, I hope to spread more awareness of plastic pollution and give back to the community. Join our cause and let’s get one step closer to a greener, healthier planet.




Tips to avoid food waste from Mario Batali, other top chefs in Anthony Bourdain’s ‘Wasted!’

Categories: Food & Beverage, Planet, Recommended Reading, Waste
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Wait not, waste not: Chef Mario Batali says to “prep ingredients when you first bring them home, immediately after shopping.” (WASTED!)


Chew on this: American families chuck 25% of the food and beverages they buy. On average, that means $1,820 per household gets thrown away annually. The U.S. isn’t alone. Around the globe, 1.3 billion tons of food gets tossed per year.

Those are just two eye-opening bites from the documentary “Wasted! The Story of Food Waste,” out Oct. 13. Produced by celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain and directed by Emmy Award winners Anna Chai and Nari Kye, the film seeks to change how people buy, cook and eat food.

Read the full article on how to avoid food waste here.

By Joe Dziemianowicz for New York Daily News.


Credit: Shutterstock


Pack in, pack out


Make sure you don’t leave any trash behind when doing a jungle hike. Food and drink cartons are common items to remember cleaning up but smaller things, such as cigarette butts, toilet paper and food leftovers are often overlooked and can still have a big impact on nature. Food litter can harm animals but also attract them. Make sure you bring food and drinks in reusable containers to avoid littering. Boy Scouts of America has a great article about the proper disposal of waste.


Nature and wildlife conservation


Be an observer of nature and take in its beauty in from a distance. Avoid walking off-track and don’t pick flowers or remove rocks as this might have more impact on nature than you think. Even though it is tempting to get closer to wild animals such as orangutans and other primates, keep your distance and admire them from afar. It can be dangerous for both humans and animals.


Respect local ways and culture


When jungle trekking in tropical countries, it can be very hot and humid. Even so, avoid going trekking wearing minimal clothing as this can be very inappropriate in some cultures and local communities, especially when visiting holy places, such as temples. Remember to always ask locals first if you want to take a picture of them and avoid giving gifts to poorer residents as this can encourage begging. Make sure you are well informed about local ways and culture before you go hiking (or before you go to a foreign country in general).

Support the local community


Book your jungle trek with a local tour operator and with local guides. This method of touring is win-win because you will support the local community, and because locals have the best knowledge and the best stories about the area you are visiting. Hire local porters, but make sure they are not carrying too much because often they carry almost as much as their body weight up the hills. Also, consider combining your jungle trekking with a community-based tourism experience! When you get to the villages, buy local souvenirs but avoid giving them too much money for it as this can do more harm than good.  


Spread the word –  share your knowledge


Education is key, share your sustainable experiences with other travellers and friends and in turn you can learn from others.  Express your concern at tour operators and travel companies as the more people that are concerned with environmental issues, the more tour operators will adopt eco-friendly and sustainable practices.


For more ideas on responsible camping, check out this Green Tip.


On a recent holiday to Koh Samui, Thailand, PATA Marketing and Communications Intern Kaitlin Corbeil took the opportunity to hold an impromptu interview with Mr Korakot Nachalaem, Resort Manager at Six Senses Resort.

In this interview, Mr Nachalaem talks about the success of the resort’s sustainable practices, explaining how the property utilizes its island environment, transforms food waste into profit and highlights the need for sustainable habits both in the industry and in the lives of all individuals. He also took a moment to provide a guided tour of the property’s self-managed goat and chicken farm, a key component of the resort’s strategic sustainability policy.

Six Senses is just one example of how hotels can take steps to manage their food waste and environmental impact, providing an encouraging example that should inspire other hotel and resort properties to do the same.


How to create a sustainable school campus

Categories: Climate, Green Tips, People and Places, Waste
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We are all aware of the potential for negative environmental impacts caused by industry and commerce. But what about school and university campuses? Many students living and studying together contribute, inevitably, to the global issues of waste and pollution.

This may not be an issue of paramount concern to students but it is vitally important that we raise awareness of the issue and work together to create more sustainable academic environments. Here are five tips that make a difference.

1. Use your own materials on campus

Plastic bottles, cutlery, plates and cups account for a huge amount of waste on campuses every day. Start with buying, and using daily, your own reusable materials such as a water bottle and container for snacks and lunches.

2. Avoid using paper

Start to digitise. Make sure that e-books are offered instead of paper textbooks for your lectures and take notes on your tablet or laptop (if permitted). Only print when absolutely necessary and promoting student events on social media. Avoid printing and handing out leaflets.

3. Organise a food waste scheme

Check if your campus has a specific scheme to separate and reduce food waste. If this is not the case, spread the word and encourage the administration team to adopt such a scheme. Encourage others by spreading awareness about food waste on social media. Make a short video on your smartphone and share it with your peers. Together, you can make a difference.

4. Cook your meals at home

Instead of buying takeaway meals, cook at home and invite your friends. It’s cheaper, fun and reduces food waste as you have direct control over the size of portions. Keeping leftovers for another tasty meal. This means, inevitably, less packaging – and that’s good for our environment. If you must buy takeout food, use your own container. Find some easy back-to-school recipes here.

5. Cycle or walk to campus

Instead of driving and paying for parking, cycle or walk to the campus. It’s much healthier and so much cheaper.


Credit: Shutterstock

Restaurants, campuses, and farmers are battling food waste in their industries. Here’s how you can join the effort.


America is one of the largest offenders of food waste in the world, according to a recent survey. Every year, roughly 1.3 billion tons of food is thrown out worldwide, a considerable problem given that agriculture contributes about 22 percent of the planet’s greenhouse gas emissions and 12.7 million people go hungry in America alone.

Entrepreneurs across several sectors have created ways to re-purpose food. Their efforts are admirable and economical, but the biggest difference will be if you make food waste reduction a daily habit.



Read more about how you can give food a new purpose here.


By Joseph Jaafari from NationSwell