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Say No to Plastic Bags

Posted by claudio on March 30, 2012 in Living in Thailand |

The people of Thailand are some of the heaviest users of plastic bags. And it is showing. You can see discarded plastic bags pretty much everywhere: in the cities, in the country, on beaches, and in rivers and the sea. It’s almost an unwritten rule that whenever you buy something in Thailand, you’ll get it in a plastic bag.

A Big User of Plastic Bags – 7-Eleven

7-Eleven: One of the Biggest Users of Plastic Bags

Take 7/11 for example. This is one very successful business in Thailand. At this moment, there are roughly 6,500 7/11 stores in Thailand, about the same number that you find in the United States. The predicted growth will put this number above 7,000 stores by 2013.

Now, let’s assume each of these 7/11 stores conducts 1 transaction per minute. This is a very conservative guess. If you’ve ever been to Thailand, you probably noticed that there are some stores with 3 or more points of sale, each doing about 2 transactions every minute. But lets stay with an average of 1 transaction per store for simplicity’s sake. That would be 60 transactions per hour and 1,440 transactions per day. In a year, that total comes to 525,600 transactions. Now multiply this number to count in all 7,000 stores and you’ll get 3,679,200,000 transactions per year.

That’s 3.7 billion (!) transactions per year. That’s certainly great news for 7/11, but hardly for the environment. You see, the staff at 7/11 automatically puts your purchase into a plastic bag, even if you just buy a can of soda or a pack of chewing gum. They automatically reach for the dreaded plastic bag, unless you tell them that you don’t want one. In my very conservative calculation, that’s almost 3.7 billion plastic bags! Chances are, the number of plastic bags used by 7/11 is several-fold though.

While researching for this post, I found a rather informative Prezi online. Seems I’m not the only one that views 7/11 as a big source of the problem, while at the same time thinking they could use their power to initiate change on a large scale.

Don’t hold your breath while waiting for a giant like 7/11 to proactively tackle the problem though. Start on a small level; start with you. Whenever you go shopping, (not just at 7/11, but also in your local market) tell the clerk behind the counter “Mai ao thung” (ไม่ เอา ถุง) and you will save the environment from one more plastic bag floating around.

What do you think about the excessive use of plastic bags in Thailand? Join the discussion below.


Learn Thai with these Online Resources

Posted by claudio on March 18, 2012 in Living in Thailand |

Although I’m a firm believer that you should not speak Thai in the classroom, I do recommend studying the Thai language and become proficient in it. Being able to converse in Thai will not only help you to get around the country with ease and better understand the local culture, it will also help you […]


Thailand is starting to take English seriously

Posted by claudio on March 14, 2012 in Teaching in Thailand |

The Nation reported yesterday that Thailand has set aside a budget of 100 million baht to send 1,137 teachers abroad to brush up their English. The chosen teachers will have an opportunity to attend English training in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore. Each will get about 100,000 baht to pay for […]


A Visit to the School for the Blind in Pattaya

Posted by claudio on March 12, 2012 in Living in Thailand |

The first time I visited Thailand was 30 years ago. I was just a teenager. I immediately fell in love with this country, its people, food, and weather. After a few days of exploring Bangkok, we went to Pattaya to visit an old friend of our family from Switzerland. He introduced us to Father Ray, […]


Thailand in Your Hand

Posted by claudio on March 11, 2012 in Living in Thailand |

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) recently launched a new website with a collection of mobile applications for the most common smartphones and tablets. Although the applications have been developed mainly for tourists, they will most likely be appreciated by foreign English teachers in Thailand as well — as long as you either have an […]


The 15 Most Common Grammar Goofs

Posted by claudio on March 7, 2012 in English Language |

As an English teacher, you are probably as sensitive about silly grammar mistakes as I am.  I cringe whenever I see people use there when they mean their or your when they mean you’re. How about you? Copyblogger posted a great infographic that lists the 15 most common grammar goofs. Perhaps you can use it […]

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