Search for:

In brief

The previous two issues in this series discussed notable concepts of key environmental bills being developed in Thailand, specifically the Draft amendment to the Enhancement and Conservation of National Environment Quality Act (NEQA) (click here for Part 1) and the Draft Sustainable Packaging Management Act (“Draft Packaging Act“) (click here for Part 2). In this final part of the series, we will look at the Draft Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Management Act (“Draft WEEE Act“).


In depth 

The development of a legal framework for the management of waste from electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) has been discussed and studied in Thailand for almost two decades. However, despite existing general environment-related laws, such as the NEQA, the Hazardous Substance Act, B.E. 2535 (1992), and the Factory Act, B.E. 2535 (1992), there is currently no specific Thai law governing WEEE management in a systematic and sustainable way. The most recent development to tackle some WEEE issues can be seen from the issuance of the Ministry of Industry Notification on Determination of Types and Sources of Raw Materials to be Used in Factories B.E. 2563 (2020) and the Ministry of Commerce Notification on Determination of Electronic Waste as Prohibited Good for Importation into the Kingdom B.E. 2563 (2020), which prohibit the use of WEEE as raw materials in factories and the importation of the WEEE, respectively.

Due to the hazardous nature of most WEEE, improper treatment practices, such as unsafe disassembly, can result in environmental contamination from heavy metals and other substances harmful to public health. Against this backdrop and in response to the continuously increasing quantity of WEEE, the Pollution Control Department (PCD) proposed a bill regarding the management of WEEE and other product waste, which was approved by the Cabinet in May 2015. After undergoing several reviews and revisions, the latest version of the Draft WEEE Act was announced for public hearing in November 2021. The design of the Draft WEEE Act shares similarities with the Draft Packaging Act, incorporating the extended producer responsibility (EPR) concept in later versions of the drafts, with some noteworthy points as follows:

  • Applicable WEEE – WEEE is defined as (i) appliances or equipment that require an electric current or an electromagnetic field to function or (ii) appliances or equipment that generate, store, transmit, or measure electric current or electromagnetic fields. This includes items that are out of order, degraded, defunct, or no longer wanted. Under this broad definition, household electrical appliances and electronic devices, such as televisions, air conditioners, computers, mobile phones, and batteries, will fall under the Draft WEEE Act.
  • Regulation of WEEE treatment – Disposal in a public place, mixing with other waste, and the destruction and disassembly of WEEE are prohibited unless allowed or exempted by certain conditions under the Draft WEEE Act.
  • Registration of WEEE collection facility and WEEE disassembly facility – A qualified person, including manufacturers and distributors of electrical and electronic equipment, may register with the PCD or local administrative authorities to establish a WEEE collection facility or a WEEE disassembly facility. Such facilities will be permitted to conduct the business of collecting or disassembling WEEE under certain requirements outlined in the Draft WEEE Act.
  • WEEE management fund – Applicable manufacturers (i.e., the owners of the brand or the trademark) and importers of electrical and electronic equipment will be required to contribute to a WEEE management fund in accordance with the products specified by the Minister of Natural Resources and Environment. The fund will be used to support the collection, transfer, and disassembly of WEEE by registered facilities. The Excise Department and the Customs Department will be designated to collect the contribution.
  • Penalties – All the penalties under the Draft WEEE Act are subject to administrative fines, including a fine of up to THB 100,000 in the case of unauthorized collection of WEEE.

Given the relatively long history of the development of the Draft WEEE Act, further adjustments may occur during the legislation process, such as the introduction of a Producer Responsibility Organization (PRO) system similar to the Draft Packaging Act. In any case, Thailand needs a legal framework that focuses on the sustainable management of WEEE, promoting the circular economy, and enhancing resource utilization effectively.

Related content:

Thailand: Key environmental legislation in the making – A new drive towards a more sustainable future (Part I)

Thailand: Key environmental legislation in the making – A new drive towards a more sustainable future (Part II)

Author

Peerapan is a Corporate and M&A partner and heads the Sustainability Group and Healthcare & Life Sciences Industry Group in Bangkok. She also co-heads the Investigations, Compliance & Ethics Practice Group in Bangkok and is currently a member of the Firm's Global Executive Committee. Peerapan has nearly 40 years of experience advising on transactional and regulatory matters in highly regulated industries. Peerapan is exceptionally fluent in regulatory matters relating to healthcare, consumer protection and product liability.
Peerapan also has extensive experience advising on compliance issues, risks facing companies across various industry sectors, and regularly assists clients in practically managing and mitigating those risks. She has been consistently recognized as 'Leading Individual’ in Corporate M&A by the Asia Pacific Legal 500 for eight consecutive years (2013-2020) and has been inducted into the Asia Pacific Legal 500 Hall of Fame in Corporate M&A in 2020-2023. More recently she has been shortlisted for Corporate and M&A Lawyer of the Year by the Legal 500 Southeast Asia Awards. Peerapan was also awarded ‘Client Choice winner’ for Healthcare & Life Sciences 2019 by Lexology.
In October 2022, Peerapan was elected to join the Global Executive Committee and serve as chair of the Asia Pacific region. In this role, Peerapan works alongside the Firm's leadership to drive forward the Firm’s business strategy and prioritized actions.

Author

Bulin joined Baker McKenzie in 2000 and became a partner in 2012. He is active in the Corporate and M&A Practice Group and is a lead partner in the Healthcare & Life Sciences Industry Group, the Industrial Manufacturing and Transportation Industry Group, and the Sustainability Group.

Author

Nam-Ake Lekfuangfu is a partner of the Employment & Compensation Practice Group in Bangkok. He is experienced not only in employment laws but also, corporate and commercial law, mergers and acquisitions, environment and trade regulations. Over the past year, Nam-Ake was lead lawyer for a wide range of employment matters involving high profile clients. With his extensive legal knowledge, combined with insights on industrial knowledge and practices and Supreme Court rulings, Nam-Ake assists clients on employment and immigration works, ranging from day-to-day advice to complex matters, such as advising on employment trends impacting employers globally, including global mobility, the use of modern workforce and gender pay gap.

Author

Varutt Kittichungchit is a Legal Professional in Baker McKenzie, Bangkok office.

Author

Dhiranantha Rithmanee is an Environmental Specialist in Baker McKenzie Bangkok office.

Author

Muanjit Chamsilpa is an Environmental Specialist in Baker & McKenzie Limited, Bangkok office.

Write A Comment