THAILAND: Replacing styrene foam containers

Dr Weerachat Kittirattanapaiboon, managing director of BPE, has gained widespread international recognition since pioneering the company's biodegradable food containers in 2006.

In Thailand, however, most consumers remain reluctant to buy bio-packaging after
comparing prices with those of the white styrene-foam containers that have taken root in the domestic market in recent decades.

Weerachat said that until now, the company had mainly focused on foreign markets due to the growing consumer concern in many countries over the environmental and health impacts of using foam containers.

BPE exports its bio-products to many countries, including European markets, Japan, Malaysia, Australia and the United States. Foreign sales account for more than 60 per cent of overall revenue.

Walmart stores in the US and Universal Studio in Florida, France and Singapore are among the major customers, he said.

Weerachat said that this year, however, the company would place greater importance on the local market, as more Thais were now changing their attitudes in an effort to reduce the amount of harmful foam and plastic that ends up in landfills.

Source: Daily "The Nation", Bangkok; 27 Jan 2013

(Syed Rashid Ali, Karachi, Pakistan)