Towards a zero waste world

Sarintorn Phansopa, Managing Director of Perfect Paper. (Photo: perfect paper)

When Sarintorn’s father Phansopa started his small business collecting used paper almost five decades ago, he didn’t realize he would play a big role in making the world a cleaner and greener place.

“We were tiny at the very beginning,” Sarintorn said. “My dad started out collecting old paper from publishing houses, businesses, schools and homes. With just a small van, my dad did everything himself, from collecting to sorting used paper.”

From such a small start, today Perfect Paper – the company founded by Sarintorn’s father – collects around 20,000 to 25,000 tonnes of used paper per month, or sometimes up to 40,000 tonnes, from various sources including households, banks, universities and publishing. Houses. The paper is then sorted and compressed before being distributed to customers who will use it as a raw material for something else.

Bringing new life to used materials, Perfect Paper is an example of a company that is an integral part of a circular economy, a closed-loop economic system in which raw materials, components and products lose their value as little as possible. An alternative to a traditional linear economy which means take, manufacture and waste, a circular economy and companies like Perfect Paper seek to reduce waste and reclaim resources at the end of a product’s lifecycle.

In recent years, Thailand and many countries around the world have taken circular economy practices seriously as a way to move towards sustainability. Take the European Union (EU), for example. In 2015, the European Commission adopted its first Circular Economy Action Plan which included measures to help boost Europe’s transition to a circular economy, boost global competitiveness, foster sustainable economic growth and generate new jobs. In 2019, the first circular economy action plan was fully completed.

Last year, the European Commission went so far as to adopt a new circular economy action plan with initiatives throughout the product lifecycle. The plan focuses on how products are designed, promotes circular economy processes, encourages sustainable consumption and aims to ensure that waste is avoided and that used resources are conserved in the EU economy as well. as long as possible. The new action plan also serves as a precondition for the EU’s goal of climate neutrality for 2050 and halting biodiversity loss.

Major brands around the world also adhere to the principle of the circular economy. Nike, for example, claims that 71% of its shoes are made with recycled materials from its own manufacturing process. Earlier this year, Adidas released their first fully recyclable shoe called Made To Be Remade. With the aim of entering into a circular economy, the sneakers are made with materials and technology that allow them to be returned to Adidas at the end of their life, after which they will be made into a new pair of shoes or a new one. product. As for H&M, 57% of its clothing materials were recycled or sustainably sourced in 2019. The company is targeting 100% by 2030.

Likewise, Thai businesses have jumped on the bandwagon and made a bold move towards the circular economy. Operating with a ‘waste paper to recycle’ mentality, Perfect Paper believes that all kinds of used paper can be recycled and reused like new.

“Recycling has become more important than ever,” said Sarintorn, second generation business owner and CEO of Perfect Paper. “Today, the use of products made from recycled materials is becoming more and more popular and acceptable to consumers and the sustainability agenda is becoming an increasingly important issue for large companies. At Perfect Paper, we play our part by processing used materials and turning them into different types of paper. such as tissue paper, printing and writing paper, kraft paper or molded paper used as packaging material.

Thailand is said to use an estimate of 3.9 million tonnes of paper per year, which is the equivalent of about 60 kg per person on an annual basis. But with his 20 years of experience in the family business, Sarintorn has seen a significant change in the way people use paper in the country. Print materials such as newspapers and magazines have migrated to digital platforms. The yellow pages phone book is gone. However, this does not mean that the paper loses all of its meaning.

“People still use paper but in different forms,” she added. “With huge efforts to reduce the use of polystyrene and plastic for the sake of the environment, brands and product manufacturers have increasingly turned to paper-based packaging materials, being since paper can be made in different shapes and has different levels of durability. “

With three factories currently under its wing, Perfect Paper has also joined the Smart Business Transformation program to focus on its own digital transformation. Organized by UOB Thailand and The FinLab, the program aims to equip Thai small and medium-sized enterprises with know-how and relevant technological solutions to support them in their digital transformation journey. Perfect Paper has adopted technological solutions for its logistics and marketing and expects savings of 15% and a doubling of its turnover.

“With the company’s participation in UOB Thailand’s intelligent business transformation, we firmly believe that the use of digital technology in our business operations will help reduce the gap between systems and tasks that overlap. The custom digital solution that we accessed through the program will allow us to achieve better business response times compared to the out-of-the-box system we were using previously. We also expect greater work efficiency and greater happiness among our staff. “

From a family business using a simple buy and sell approach, Perfect Paper now has the infrastructure to keep the company’s recycling goal sustainable. With human resources, machines, digital solutions as well as tracking and tracking systems, the company is now able to export recycled paper to other countries as well.

In terms of future plans, Sarintorn foresees a more sustainable business that will focus not only on short term profits but also long term results.

“Perfect Paper started heartily by helping to eliminate waste and recycle it as part of the circular economy. So the more the business grows, the more we can give back to society,” said Sarintorn.

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