Case Studies

Pathum Wan Zero Waste: The Zero Waste Network in Bangkok has reduced more than 2,000 tons of food waste

Pathum Wan District, at the heart of Bangkok, despite having a small population of 40,844, produced a remarkable 75,549 tons of waste in 2022, equivalent to 207 tons per day. This high waste generation, around 5 kilograms per person per day, surpasses the average Bangkok resident’s 1.5 kilograms per day. Large educational institutions like Chulalongkorn University, extensive shopping centers like CentralWorld serving up to 150,000 visitors daily, and numerous office employees within the district contribute to this issue. To address this, waste management strategies, especially for the 50% that is organic waste, are essential due to its significant contribution to methane gas emissions, a potent greenhouse gas and contributor to global warming.

In just 1 square kilometer around Chulalongkorn University, there are about 38,000 students and 3,040 staff, along with 217 buildings, making it a significant waste generator in Pathum Wan District. Over the past 7 years, the university has implemented the Chula Zero Waste project, which employs sustainable waste management principles, including reducing and separating waste at its source. This involves measures such as reducing single-use plastics, communication campaigns, installing more water dispensers, and placing waste separation bins across the campus. Various waste types are sorted and disposed of appropriately. For example, uncooked food waste is rapidly converted into soil amendments using biodigesters within 24 hours, while leftover food becomes animal feed. Recyclable martial are sold, and non-recyclable plastics are used as alternative energy sources in cement production. Hazardous waste items like batteries and fluorescent bulbs are collected and disposed of safely. These initiatives have significantly allowed us to reduce and transform waste into benefits by as much as 55.26% in 2022.

The university’s waste management project has become a valuable information resource and a learning hub for interested organizations. Between January and October 2023, 21 organizations participated, contributing to Bangkok’s broader mission of enhancing waste management. The university has been a driving force in citywide waste management efforts, collaborating with the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration and the environmental sector to launch the “No Mixing (of food waste)” campaign, promoting the separation of food waste from general waste for separate collection and processing. Additionally, the university has partnered with Pathum Wan District office to establish waste collection systems aligned with district-specific waste sources, encompassing over 48 locations. Moreover, the university has joined forces with private sector entities to promote the “Pathum Wan Zero Waste” initiative, where private organizations manage their waste and help local communities improve waste management practices. In just 7 months, this project successfully separated and managed properly 2,148 tons of food waste. If this food waste were mixed with other waste, greenhouse gases could have been emitted approximately 5,456 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent. Furthermore, it has inspired individuals in the Pathum Wan district to modify their waste disposal habits, encouraging waste separation and adoption of similar practices when they return home within the Bangkok Metropolitan Region, thereby naturally extending the project’s influence.


  • Chula Zero Waste Project
  • Environmental Research Institute, Chulalongkorn University
  • Office of Physical Resources Management, Chulalongkorn University

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