Bind responsibility of enterprises on discarded products

15:22 | 05/12/2013 Science - Technology

(VEN) - Retrieving and disposing expired or discarded products is now a thorny issue for some industrial production sectors like electronics, automotive tires, batteries, battery cells, lubricant and grease.

Lead batteries are recycled in Dong Mai Craft Village, Van Lam District, Hung Yen Province

To deal with this problem, the prime minister issued Decision 50/2013/QD-TTg on the retrieval and disposal of wastes, especially discarded electronic products. This is an important legal foundation to bind responsibility of importers and producers of hard to disintegrate products in retrieving and disposing their products in the market.

According to the International Finance Corporation (IFC), in 2010, Vietnam had about 40,000 tonnes of discarded lead batteries and it is forecast that the figure will reach 70,000 tonnes in 2015. In addition, the total amount of electronic and household wastes each year in Vietnam is estimated at 120,000 sets, including TVs, video players, washing machines and refrigerators. Most batteries as well as waste products are being manually recycled at craft villages, causing great harm to the environment and human health.

Decision 50/2013/QD-TTg clearly defined roles and responsibilities of enterprises, importers, agents, users, local administrators and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment. Bui Cach Tuyen – the Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment said “The decision aims at attaching the responsibility of producers, importers with products they sell in the market until these products are disposed and treated without any harm to the environment. This is a situation that many countries around the world have and have been implementing.”

However, Naoki Sugiura from Panasonic Vietnam Co., Ltd alleged that the producers cannot control and manage consumer’s attitudes towards the discarded products. In addition, the discarded products market in Vietnam is very complicated. The consumers today are not aware of the retrieved electronic products as when the products go out of use, they are often sold to junk dealers to get money instead of letting the products be recycled.

Decision 50 is also receiving many feedbacks from producers and importers on how to retrieve and dispose of the discarded products in the context when Vietnam remains weak in recycling capacity while the businesses and residents also have difficulties in collecting and handing over the discarded products.

At a recent workshop held in Hanoi, Kok-Wah Boey, chairman of the Asia – Pacific’s Environmental Division of HP Company said: “In Australia, the law regulates that all parties have legal obligation to register to join agreements among members to ensure retrieval and disposal of the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE).”

As for the WEEE Directive of the European Union, producers are responsible for retrieving and paying disposal costs. Bui Cach Tuyen said the regulations on responsibility for the life cycle of products have an important meaning, not only in boosting innovations in terms of firms applying new technology and production processes to create high quality and environmentally-friendly products but also assigning responsibility to consumers, distributors and related parties for the retrieval and disposal activities of discarded products, helping to reduce at the minimum environmental pollution./.

By Thu Huong