Bangkok (VNA) – Thailand’s National Energy Policy Council (NEPC) plans to increase the number of new waste-to-energy (WTE) projects next year to ease worries about the growing volume of garbage.

The council is preparing to invite investors to propose new projects, with total capacity of 400 megawatts, early next year.

WTE plants, which were already granted licences in previous auctions, operate in 36 areas, with combined capacity of 328MW.

Though projects promise a new business opportunity to power companies that want to join the growing trend in renewable energy, Thailand Environment Institute (TEI) encourages moving away from the profit incentive.

All sides should primarily focus on getting rid of garbage and view electricity as a byproduct, said TEI president Wijarn Simachaya.

WTE projects must be done for the sake of the environment, helping Thailand better cope with garbage flooding the country, which ranks as the sixth largest polluter when it comes to dumping plastic waste into the sea, he said.

In 2018, only 35 percent of 27.9 million tonnes of solid waste in Thailand was sorted for recycling and 39 percent was disposed of at landfill and incinerators as well as through WTE projects. Up to 26 percent ended up in some other areas including land, rivers and sea, according to TEI.

Plastic waste made up 2 million tonnes of total garbage. Only 500,000 tonnes were recycled while the majority was disposed together with other types of garbage./.