Creating life cycle for plastic waste

16:00 | 14/08/2022 Environment

(VEN) - A Vietnamese company recently exported a second batch of plywood made of recycled plastic waste, reflecting the development of Vietnam’s fledgling efforts to develop a circular economy. The Thanh Tung One Member Co. Ltd. in Dong Nai Province exported the first batch of plywood boards to Scotland in late 2021, and the second to the US earlier this year.

Turning waste into exports

The Thanh Tung One Member Company cooperated with the German Evergreen Social Ventures Company to franchise the technology of pressing plastic waste into plastic boards using ReForm Plastic heating principle, which transforms low-value plastics into boards for various uses, including furniture.

A company representative said that previously, industrial plastic waste such as shoe sole scraps and synthetic industrial plastics were all treated by incineration. These days, the waste is classified, chopped and washed, mixed, pressed, shaped into sheets, then cut to suitable sizes. Analysis and testing results show that the plastic plywood products meet durability standards and are safe for users’ health and the environment, he said.

The first plastic plywood shipment was exported to Scotland

Because it is produced from low-value plastic, Thanh Tung's products are cheaper than other plywood plastic boards. Currently, the company produces on average more than 1,500 plastic plywood boards per month, equivalent to 62 tonnes of garbage.

Promoting circular economy

Following the shipment of 400 boards to Scotland and 1,000 to the US, customers in Cambodia and domestic enterprises have started showing an interest in the company’s products and placed orders.

In addition, ReForm Plastic has committed to buying all of Thanh Tung’s products for export to the European market, providing a bright outlook for the company’s 120 employees and average monthly income of VND10-14 million.

In addition to producing plywood, Thanh Tung Company also produces rubber tiles made from recycled plastic that are suitable for flooring in kitchens, bathrooms, and kindergartens. However, Thanh Tung is facing difficulties due to inadequate policies to encourage waste recycling in general and plastic waste in particular, both in terms of capital but also communication activities explaining recycling’s importance to the environment.

Vietnam disposes of approximately 3.9 million tonnes of waste yearly. Just a third of that is recycled. The rest is burnt, buried in landfills or dumped directly into the environment, where it can leak into the country’s waterways and eventually the global ocean.

Jan Zellmann, Co-founder of the plastic recycling project (Reform Plastic) in Vietnam: Vietnam can absolutely address the challenges of plastic waste by collecting them and turning the low-value waste into usable and commercial products.

Thu Huong