Trash Heroes Lead the Way in Bangkok

Trash Hero flag

Trash Hero flies the flag in the capital

At Seed & Tell we’re passionate about food as well as the impact of its production and usage. That’s where trash fits into the picture. We’re all responsible and can take action to minimise our waste by choosing less packaging, reusing trash and ultimately disposing of it all thoughtfully. An immediate and obvious way to help is to pick up trash if you see it. One group is doing this in a huge way.

Trash Hero is an amazing grassroots organisation that we invited to the Spring Epicurean Market in July 2015. It started on Koh Lipe, Satun Province, as an effort to clean up the local environment by simply picking up garbage. Trash Hero also encouraged visitors to purchase reusable drinking bottles on the island instead of generating waste through disposable plastic drinking bottles. Purchasers receive free water refills at participating venues on Koh Lipe.

Trash Hero won the Green Excellence Award in 2015 and have inspired clean ups around the country and beyond. The bottle and free refills are now available in over 150 businesses in Thailand – Koh Lipe, Koh Lanta, Koh Phangan, Koh Tao, Chiang Mai, Krabi, Hua Hin with more to follow soon. It’s a truly remarkable story of a simple idea that is making a difference and has the potential to do so much in the long run.

Trash Hero representative and market display

Trash Heroes from the Hua Hin chapter at the Spring Epicurean Market in July 2015 promoting their cause

This past Sunday they held their first Bangkok clean up around Taco Lake of Bang Phli district in Samut Prakan province. Trash Hero used the day to introduce their Bangkok Chapter as well as the Mahidol University Salaya Chapter. The goal is to encourage people from various neighborhoods in Bangkok (or anywhere in the world really) to start their very own Trash Hero Chapter. Bangkok is huge and there is a lot of cleaning up to do!

Over 100 people participated on the day. Mostly young professionals, international students from Mahidol International College, environmentalists and sports enthusiasts.

Trash Hero participants

Trash heroes at Lake Taco before commencing the clean up

Trash Hero showcased their range of upcycled products made from the trash they have collected, reusable bags, the yellow t-shirt (as the movement started on a Monday and yellow is the colour associated with that day of the week in Thailand) and a reusable stainless steel drinking bottle.

Ben and Tom standing

Friends Bendjamin (Ben) Udomkaewkanjana and Tom Potisit attend the Trash Hero clean up at Lake Taco

Former Spring Epicurean Market vendor Bendjamin (Ben) Udomkaewkanjana of Heimat’s Nature Table is a multi-faceted entrepreneur and environmentalist. He participated on Sunday and shared the experience with us. “After stand up paddle boarding lessons (from Starboard who sponsored the event) we registered and were split into groups to collect trash in the neighborhood, as well as from the waterways via the paddle boards.”

The day reminded Ben of his childhood in Germany when he used to walk his dog along river banks and collect trash en route. “I’d bring a giant bag and it basically filled itself. This started because of all the broken glass along the shore and my worry that dogs would get cut.” Every little bit counts. Small actions do add up to something bigger.

Ben’s friend Tom Potisit, an environmentalist and photographer, invited him along to the Trash Hero event on Sunday. Tom is undertaking a fashion photography collaboration with Trash Hero. We can’t wait to see the results.

(Image credits: Bendjamin (Ben) Udomkaewkanjana)

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