Producer responsibility holds out hope FOR circular economy

08:00 | 14/08/2021 Environment

(VEN) - The Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) regulations imposing responsibilities on producers and importers of collecting, recycling and treating discarded products are expected to change the management of solid waste and promote the circular economy in Vietnam.

producer responsibility holds out hope for circular economy
Enterprises will shift to eco-friendly packaging once the EPR takes effect

The 2020 Law on Environmental Protection, which was approved by the National Assembly in November 2020 and will become effective from January 1, 2022, includes many reforms and major changes in environmental policies. Its EPR regulations, as stipulated in Articles 54 and 55, are expected to help accelerate reforms in solid waste management system, gradually forming a recycling industry.

Vietnam has already issued regulations on the responsibility of manufacturers in the recall and treatment of discarded products. However, manufacturers and importers have mostly been passing on the responsibilities to consumers. For example, the Panasonic Vietnam Co., Ltd. has only seven collection points nationwide to which customers must transport discarded products. Similarly, Samsung Electronics Vietnam only has 12 such points in five provinces and cities and consumers have to bear the transportation costs to these points. As a result, consumers prefer to sell expired or damaged products to scrap traders for money without having to transport them to the collection points.

producer responsibility holds out hope for circular economy

Phan Tuan Hung, Director of the Department of Legislation of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, explained that the current law fails to specify the tasks of manufacturers and importers, providing them with loopholes to shirk their responsibilities. Consumers, for their part, suffer twice - having to pay for transportation to collection points and losing money they could make by selling to scrap traders.

The basic principles of the EPR mechanism in the new law close these loopholes, Hung said. Manufacturers have three options - do the recycling themselves, make a financial contribution to the Vietnam Environmental Protection Fund, or do the recycling through a certified Product Recycling Organization (PRO).

Hung also said the EPR mechanism helps enhance financial flows and multilateral cooperation, both important factors in increasing waste recycling, including plastic waste. The EPR mechanism is an important foundation for the circular economy that Vietnam is targeting to build, in which manufacturers, who are a part of the problem and also a part of the solution, will be responsible for the recycling of the used products and the packaging of the products they sell.

Thu Huong