E-waste management decree generates mixed business response

10:00 | 25/09/2021 Environment

(VEN) - Electronic waste accounts for only two percent of the total amount of solid waste generated, but for 70 percent of hazardous waste that is not handled properly in Vietnam. The 2020 Law on Environmental Protection introducing Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) of manufacturers and importers is expected to improve management of e-waste in Vietnam.

Most e-waste is currently collected through second-hand markets or repair shops and then brought to craft villages in Bac Ninh and Hung Yen provinces where necessary components are removed and the rest is dumped on streets or riverside areas without being treated. This process poses a potential risk of soil and water pollution.

The EPR mechanism is expected to solve environmental pollution caused by solid and domestic waste, including e-waste. However, the recently issued draft decree guiding implementation of the mechanism, developed by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, has prompted objections on the part of business enterprises.

e waste management decree generates mixed business response

Boosting collection of electronic waste

At a recent webinar held jointly by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment to discuss the draft decree, Lim Boon Pin, a representative of the ICT Standing Group in Vietnam proposed that policymakers issue specific regulations for hazardous ingredients found in electrical and electronic equipment, such as HCFCs contained in refrigerators. They should issue regulations on collecting the e-waste by product groups instead of each type of product as in the current draft, which is not workable.

A representative of the Canon Vietnam Co., Ltd. said that the draft must clearly stipulate which businesses with their specific technologies are allowed to handle which groups and types of products. He also objected to a regulation in the draft mandating PRO (third party) certification by the EPR office, arguing that it is difficult to put into force and violates the enterprise competition law.

Other disagreements on specific issues in the draft decree relate to contributions to the Environmental Protection Fund, collection and recycling rates, classification by product or product group, recovery and treatment costs, and roadmap to put it into effect. However, there is broad agreement that the EPR will help improve waste management in general and e-waste in particular in Vietnam. At the same time, it will also help electrical and electronic enterprises increase their competitive advantage in the global supply chain by continual innovation to create environmentally friendly products.

Paramita Dasgupta, IFC Manager for Creating Markets Advisory Services in East Asia-Pacific:

This is the first time IFC has cooperated with Vietnam's environmental management agency to draft a very

important regulation to address the responsibility of manufacturers in the management of electrical and

electronic waste.

Huong Thu