–by Bouquet Tayapa– 

How did you come up with the idea for Keep To Share?

Ever since I was little, I witnessed plastic bottles being recycled. Thai people see value in used plastic bottles and glass because they can be sold in exchange for money. But people typically overlook the value of UHT/juice boxes so these cartons often end up as trash. Therefore my older brother and I co-founded Keep To Share, which aims to increase the utility of UHT cartons in the eyes of Thai citizens. My brother initiated the engineering aspect of it, while I continue to expand it to the business world.

How did you decide to make furniture out of recycled UHT cartons?

In Thailand, there are many schools that don’t have basic furniture. Recycled UHT boxes can be made into tables and chairs as well as other products, such as eco-canteens and roofs, due to its resilience to sunlight (chipboards) and/or water (eco-boards).

Tell me about the goal and mission of Keep to Share.

The goal of Keep To Share is to raise awareness that UHT boxes can be recycled and to provide underprivileged Thai schools with supplies and furniture they need, such as tables and chairs, which can be made from these recycled cartons/boxes. By giving tables and chairs to the schools that collect UHT boxes, we are showing these students—the future generation—that these used cartons have great value so they will be more willing to recycle them.

What is the process of making furniture out of recycled juice boxes? 

After being collected, properly cleaned—the boxes need to be aseptic (uncontaminated), and folded, the UHT cartons are crushed into smaller pieces. The crushed pieces are then placed in a heated compressor. Next, the tiny chips are put in a cold compressor to be strengthened and solidified. After that, the newly formed chipboards are trimmed as needed. Finally, they are fully transformed into sustainable, environmentally friendly furniture and products. 

Where does the school furniture go once it’s made?

The school furniture gets donated to underserved Thai schools. We have formed a partnership with True Corporation (True Connext ED), so the furniture can get to underprivileged Thai schools under True’s care. 

Who else is in the group?

A lot of my friends at RIS help out with different Keep to Share activities, such as when we go on trips to underprivileged schools to teach students about recycling UHT boxes and attend meetings with large companies. Earlier this year, many RIS students (including Bomb, Neen, Panithi, Pinky, Ping Ping, Phet, Phoom, Raksit, Whawha, Victor, Yumi, and Zigma) traveled with us to an underserved Thai school to donate desks and chairs made from recycled UHT boxes. We also educated the students there about the proper way to recycle, clean, and fold the boxes. Keep To Share also has partnerships with leading Thai companies such as CP All (7-Eleven), the Siam Piwat Group, Tetra Pak, and SIG Combibloc. We aim to promote the campaign and to set up more collection boxes for used UHT cartons. 

What other groups or committees do you belong to at RIS? 

I co-founded a club at school with Victor called Financial Investment. This club aims to educate RIS students about stocks. We hold stock competitions (the winner is the one who makes the highest profit in their portfolio investment) and also organize events such as bake sales to raise funds, which can be donated to Keep To Share to fund our trips to Thai schools. This not only familiarizes RIS students with the concept of stocks but also increases their awareness of recycling and sets an example for future generations that generating profits is not the only thing we should keep in mind—we should also consider the well-being of our environment.

Do you have a long-term vision for Keep to Share?   

Yes! Recently, I introduced Keep To Share to the business world. After contacting CP All (7-Eleven), they have agreed to set up donation boxes for UHT cartons at some of their stores. This will help increase the number of cartons we can collect. For the past few years, we have only had a few collection boxes set up. We also had the opportunity to work with Kasetsart University’s Scrap Lab to collaborate on new ideas for what other products the eco-boards can be made into, such as raincoats and outdoor blankets. Unfortunately, due to technological limits, we cannot produce these products—yet. The good news, nevertheless, is that we are working toward it. My long-term vision, which I believe we can achieve in the near future, is that products recycled from UHT boxes will soon be produced and sold in places such as 7-Eleven. When this day comes, we will be able to generate profits that will greatly benefit Thailand’s economy in a sustainable manner.