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Trash Rubbish Collection In Thailand

Something we all take for granted back in the western world is the trash man comes on time each and everyweek without fail. The council collects the money for the trash collection without fail and everyone pays for the trash collection. The Trucks are all state of the art usually a one man team picking up the trash. It's uncommon for people to throw away their trash into the street and if they did noone would pick it up!

Thailand Trash Collection? Sorry.

Now in Thailand it's a completely different story. You see this is how it works in thailand for rubbish collection. Put your trash into a plastic bag, leave it on the side of the street, after all the rats have eaten the good stuff inside the bag, the trash man will come and pick it up, don't worry about paying for the right to have your trash taken away if it's in a plastic bag on the side of the street the council will pick it up.

Umm ok, so if you don't have to pay how do they afford to pick up the trash? Well it's like this, if your an apartment building and generate a lot of trash you'll need a large bin. Because it's in a bin you'll have to pay for it, the fee is not much a regular bin like we'd have in Australia costs about 40 baht a month, large apartments pay about 1000-2000 baht. It still doesn't seem to justify the cost though as they usually come and pick up the trash about 2-3 times a week, if your at a market they will come every day.

So here is the kicker, the trash collectors cannot take anything that's not in a plastic bag, this is because of the trucks they use, so if you have a large rubbish bin that you place out the front and all passers by just dump they trash into it, you'll have to take it apart and put it in a bag for them to pick up, yeah. So noone has a bin out the front because of this problem. So as you can immagine everyone just dumps the trash on the side of the road and expects the council to pick it up, in the meantime rats have a field day every night sifting through the rubbish. And rats are a huge problem in thailand all because of this.

I know a business that generates 3 bags of trash a day, it's a restaurant and they have never paid the council any money. They don't have to because it's not in a bin! Unbelievable. Even if they did i don't think the 40 baht a month they charge would even cover the cost anyway. So why don't they pay? Because if you don't ask to pay you don't have to! Yes that's right. You don't ask you don't pay.

Even though Thailand is a lot better than say Cambodia it's still very 3rd world mentality. No wonder there's rats everywhere. And noone seems to care, i was eating at a popular restaurant the other day and say a family of rats right under the table where the cook was cooking. Wow, i think everyone else saw too and even told my g/f. But whatever they don't care it's not in the food so what's the problem right? Wrong, it's filthy and it wouldn't take much to clear them out too but they don't.

I put rat bait out almost every week and end up killing 2or 3 rats a week, but it's not enough and that's been going on for 6months. If you stop their supply of food you'll stop the rats, but until people care and bother to get a trash bin which they won't because the council won't pick up their trash anyway it's going to be a problem forever. You can even see it in bangkok a major city too.

I know i'm complaining but it's something I think people should understand, i'm trying to lead by example but thais could care less. They'll still eat at the rat infested kitchen and they'll still just throw their trash on the side of the road.

There has been progress though so it may happen eventually. 15 years ago i lived in thailand and back then they didn't use plastic bags to put their trash in they just threw it in a bin. Somehow the bin went and now they have plastic bags, so you might say it's a little progress but not so much.

If your living in thailand, do your part, pay the council trash fees buy a bin even if you have to clean the bin yourself and empty trash out that parser by's throw in do it. Lead by example!


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About Chris

Chris founded LivingThai.org in 2011 and has received over 3 million visitors. He has lived here for over 10 years and speaks reads and writes very good Thai.

5 Responses to Trash Rubbish Collection In Thailand

  1. Keith November 8, 2011 at 7:38 pm #

    We used to have a hole that was dug a little way away from our village and used to have to carry rubbish to dump it there. Because most people were not willing to transport their rubbish, most of it was either at the side of the road or burnt.
    About 10 weeks ago a bin appeared outside every house. The bins are made from old tyres, which is a neat idea. There doesn’t seem to be any set day for collection, but they come about once a week, sometimes twice.
    This is an excellent step in the right direction.
    So far they have not asked for any money, so I assume that it is free.
    I do have my own separate bin that I put cardboard, bottles etc and put that out alongside, they seem quite pleased that I do that.

    • Chris November 8, 2011 at 7:51 pm #

      Yeah that’s the older way to do it the old tire bins, you must be out there huh? Those things are typically free especially if you live in a moo ban. There happy that you seperate the bottles cause they resell it and make money. I do the same thing but give it to the old man accross the street. He loves it. I’d have to get a truckload if I wanted to afford a beer though. They are getting there just really slowly. Those low lying bins the dogs still get into though unless they gave you a lid you can tie down, did they give you a lid?

      • Keith November 8, 2011 at 8:53 pm #

        You may be thinking of the plant pots that they make from old tyres. These bins come with a stand, so not so low and a hinged lid. The lid is heavy enough to keep the dogs out. Mind you the hinge has broken already on one of my neighbour’s bin.
        In the UK nowadays, rubbish collection is every 2 weeks. As far as I am concerned, regarding rubbish collection, Thailand wins 🙂
        Scroll to the bottom of the link and there is a bin similar to what I am talking about. Much better than plastic. If in the sun they become brittle quite quickly.
        http://www.woodlands-junior.kent.sch.uk/thaihouses.html

        • Chris November 8, 2011 at 10:44 pm #

          Every 2 weeks, that’s a bit harsh! Down under I gott 3 bins one for each type of trash and in america I had a massive skip, not sure what skip is in english but basically i could throw anything in there and it didn’t matter.

  2. Brad August 2, 2015 at 11:13 pm #

    Trash is one thing, but… Thai houses and yards. Stuff everywhere! Old lounges, used paint cans, broken bricks, whatever…. there is absolutely no pride in having a tidy house. Stuff that was chucked into the yard years ago, is really just trash and has no use, but will still be there in years to come.

    Have you noticed how Thais put all their plants into pots? Maybe they have 30 different plants and not a single pot matches any other pot.

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