Waste not, want not: Increased eco awareness generates recycling push

06:00 | 28/11/2021 Environment

(VEN) - Waste can be turned into a resource once it is properly classified and treated, an inevitable direction in the development of an eco-friendly circular economy and one which Vietnam is pursuing energetically.

Increased awareness

The Hanoi Urban Environment Limited Company (URENCO) is cooperating with related departments and sectors to continue implementing a program to recover recyclable waste and batteries, and has received positive support from the public. The program aims to raise awareness and prompt action on waste classification at the source, recycling and reuse of waste, minimizing impacts on the environment and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

According to Nguyen Cong Thinh, Deputy Director of the Science Technology and Environment Department under the Ministry of Construction, waste has long become a top concern not only in Vietnam but also in the world. The classification of waste at the source not only yields economic benefit but also helps reduce emissions and the volumes of waste to be buried.

URENCO’s recycling program is held every Saturday morning at locations in four central districts of Hanoi.

Unilever Vietnam has also cooperated with VietCycle and Duy Tan to launch a “Plastic Reborn” program with the dual goal of protecting the environment by promoting the circular economy model in plastic waste management and committing to sustainable development to improve people's quality of life.

The program was initially implemented in Hanoi with three action pillars: Building a system of collection, training, communications and recycling transfer. The program set up collection agents on streets, as well as collection groups in each region.

The program also promoted mass communications to raise awareness of the benefits of sorting waste at the source, collecting plastic waste and inspiring the community to join hands in protecting the environment.

Regarding recycling activities, the program will use the sorted and collected plastic waste for Unilever's packaging production while non-recyclable plastics will be converted to fuel.

Promoting circular economy

Collecting recycled waste is aimed at promoting a circular economy, as set out in the revised Law on Environmental Protection to take effect on January 1, 2022.

According to Phan Tuan Hung, Director of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment’s legislation department, the 2020 Law on Environmental Protection has institutionalized the circular economy policy, including regulations on the responsibility of manufacturers and importers (EPR) in product lifecycle management.

Waste is a source of input materials for the recycling industry

This approach requires that manufacturers and importers assume responsibility for recycling the products and packages they make or import according to the required rates and specifications. Enterprises can choose one of four solutions: recycling themselves; hiring a unit with recycling capability; coordinating with each other to establish a representative organization to implement recycling activities; and contribute funding to the Vietnam Environmental Protection Fund to organize recycling.

Fausto Tazzi, Vice President of the Packaging Recycling Organization Vietnam (PRO Vietnam) said that EPR has not only been implemented in developed countries but also in many developing countries. In fact, large enterprises all want to develop sustainably and are ready with resources to build a development roadmap to sustainable and environmentally friendly production.

Speaking on a recent online talk show on promoting the implementation of extended responsibilities, experts and representatives of enterprises said EPR is the best and cheapest way to solve environmental pollution. The strict enforcement of EPR regulations not only reflects the responsibility of enterprises, but is also an opportunity for development and increasing competitiveness for businesses that perform environmental protection tasks.

Most developed countries in the world already have implemented EPR. For low-income countries, EPR is also

a serious issue that needs to be addressed.

Thanh Tam