USTDA Advances Plastic Recycling in Thailand

Arlington, VA – Today, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency awarded a grant to Thailand’s VAO Energy Co., Ltd. (VAO) for a feasibility study to develop a large plastic recycling facility that will strengthen Thailand’s waste management efforts and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“USTDA fully supports Thailand’s ambitious goals to combat the economic and environmental consequences of plastic pollution,” said Enoh T. Ebong, USTDA’s Director. “Our assistance will catalyze private sector investment in highly innovative plastic recycling technologies that U.S. companies are well positioned to supply.”

USTDA’s study will help VAO develop a facility to process plastic waste using a high-temperature process called pyrolysis. The resulting value-added product, pyrolysis oil, is an alternative to traditional fossil fuels that can be used for industrial purposes. The facility will help reduce emissions by diverting plastic waste from existing waste management methods, such as incineration, and have great applicability to Southeast Asia’s plastic recycling needs.

This project will also advance Thailand’s Bio-Circular-Green economic model for inclusive and sustainable growth. The model focuses on employing technology and innovation to transform the country to a value-based and innovation-driven economy in the bioenergy, biomaterial and biochemical sector, as well as agriculture and food; medical and wellness; and tourism and creative sectors. 

“Plastic pollution, in particular ocean plastic waste, does not respect political boundaries and addressing it requires international cooperation,” said Gwen Cardno, Chargé d’Affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok. “Through USTDA, the U.S. government is proud to work together with Thailand on innovative solutions in keeping plastic waste out of our oceans and to support Thailand’s Bio-Circular-Green economic model.”

Managing Director and Founder of VAO, Ashwin Chugani, added: “VAO is working with USTDA to deliver a cutting-edge solution to reduce plastic pollution at scale. The USTDA teams in Bangkok and Washington have already been hugely helpful in the development of our platform, and their ongoing support will help us to recycle large volumes of plastic in Thailand and across Southeast Asia.”

This project advances the goals of USTDA’s Global Partnership for Climate-Smart Infrastructure, which connects U.S. industry to major clean energy and transportation infrastructure projects in emerging markets.

U.S. businesses interested in submitting proposals for this feasibility study should visit


The U.S. Trade and Development Agency helps companies create U.S. jobs through the export of U.S. goods and services for priority infrastructure projects in emerging economies.  USTDA links U.S. businesses to export opportunities by funding project preparation and partnership building activities that develop sustainable infrastructure and foster economic growth in partner countries.

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