Public Private Collaboration in Plastic Waste Management in Vietnam
After two years since the signing of the MOU on Public Private Collaboration towards Circular Economy in Plastic Waste Management in Vietnam, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Dow Chemical Vietnam Co., Ltd. (Dow Vietnam), SCG Group and Unilever Vietnam International Co., Ltd. held a workshop to evaluate the results of cooperation achieved in the past two years, welcomed 24 new members, and set out major focuses to be implemented in the coming years, in order to make practical contributions to the "National Action Plan on ocean plastic waste management to 2030" and the "Scheme on strengthening plastic waste management in Vietnam" of the Prime Minister.
Hanoi, February 28, 2022 - The workshop "Public Private Collaboration towards circular economy in plastic waste management in Vietnam" was organized in an online format by the Public Private Collaboration for Plastic Waste Management, including the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Dow Chemical Vietnam Co., Ltd (Dow Vietnam), SCG Group and Unilever Vietnam International Co., Ltd.
Looking back on the two-year journey since its establishment
Plastic pollution is a big challenge for the world in general and each country in particular. The amount of plastic waste produced has been too high, causing a great burden on the environment, especially in developing countries with incomplete solid waste management systems like Vietnam. On average, each year, Vietnam generates about 1.8 million tons of plastic waste which is higher than the world average, and is among the top 20 countries with the largest amount of waste*.
Two years ago, on February 19, 2020, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and 03 enterprises: Dow Vietnam, SCG Group and Unilever Vietnam pioneered the proposal of the Public Private Collaboration to build a circular economy in plastic waste management (called the Public - Private Collaboration for Plastic Waste Management). The initiative aims to bring plastic waste into the circular economy and manage the plastic waste problem in Vietnam through knowledge sharing, technology transfering, raising public awareness and promoting innovation to address the problem of plastic waste on a national scale.
Despite being affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, during the past 2 years, the Plastic Waste Management Public - Private Collaboration has implemented practical activities in line with 4 key tasks and achieved some accomplishments.
Mission 1: Segregation at source and collecting and recycling plastic waste
Members of the Public - Private Collaboration for Plastic Waste Management have long-term cooperation with enterprises and non-governmental organizations to set up and implement projects to sort, collect and recycle plastic waste. So far, more than 9,000 tons of recyclable waste has been sorted and collected, including 6,520 tons of plastic waste. The projects also directly support more than 1,200 workers who are female, disadvantaged, freelance workers, and people with disabilities - helping them to enhance hygiene and safety during the collection process, create more income and settle down.
Mission 2: Communication and education to raise awareness and encourage actions from people
Many action programs in collaboration with partners have been implemented, creating a strong transition in people's awareness and habits towards plastic waste. Plastic waste sorting and collection activities are popularized directly to 18 wards and communes, 41,400 households in Hanoi. Student education activities and waste collection instructions are conducted at 32 schools, reaching more than 15,000 students in Hanoi and more than 1,300 students in Ba Ria - Vung Tau. The campaign "Let's clean the beach - #PullingOurWeight" attracted the participation of thousands of students and volunteers to propagate and raise awareness about environmental protection, anti-littering and to collaborate to protect the marine environment. More than 50 ministries and agencies also actively communicate and spread the word for the project, by using 1,700 special trash bins made from 30 tons of recycled plastic waste, which have the function of sorting waste at the source. Overall, the projects have reached more than 12 million hits through mass media campaigns.
Mission 3: Applying technology - innovation and recycling solutions in plastic waste management
Technologies and solutions from developed countries have been relentlessly researched and applied by Members of the Public - Private Collaboration for Plastic Waste Management, with the goal of supporting the packaging and plastic pellet manufacturing industry, e.g: turning plastic waste into usable materials for building roads, replacing 8-10% asphalt in building roads, producing recyclable packaging, etc.
Mission 4: Dialoguing, developing supportive policies to promote the circular economy in plastic waste management
The Public - Private Collaboration for Plastic Waste Management has participated in the Expanded Producer Responsibility (EPR) Working Group, coordinated with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment to popularize and train regulations on EPR, directly exchange and call for support from local authorities to deploy and promote models of waste collection and classification in localities and schools.
Roadmap of operations in the coming years
From the optimistic progress in the past 2 years, the Public - Private Collaboration for Plastic Waste Management continues to set out a roadmap in the coming years, towards a Vietnam without plastic waste in the environment:
Task 1: Education to change behavior
Focused activities include: (1) Enhancing popularization and education to change habits and encourage people's actions in segregation waste at source on a national scale; (2) Supporting to widely disseminate regulations and laws on waste management and segregation at the source; (3) Universalizing and standardizing the waste segregation model at the source on a national scale.
Task 2: Segregation at source
From the initial successful pilots, the Public - Private Collaboration for Plastic Waste Management will promote projects and models of waste collection and segregation at source, towards replication nationwide, in order to create and strengthen the habit of segregating waste at the source for people. The initiatives to recover plastic packaging and recycle plastic waste need to be facilitated to deploy, in order to promote the circular economy of plastic waste in Vietnam.
Some typical projects:
- In Hanoi: National cooperation project to establish a circular economic model of plastic waste in Vietnam, Model of garbage collection and segregation at source - Exchange of waste for gifts, The Plastic Reborn project in Hoan Kiem district;
- In Vung Tau: Project Towards a circular economy in plastic waste management- a community pilot model in Hamlet 1, Long Son commune;
- In the Mekong Delta: Zero Waste to Mekong River Project - pilot model at Cai Rang and Con Son Floating Markets;
Task 3: Technology & Innovation in recycling
The Public - Private Collaboration for Plastic Waste Management sets the goal of researching and applying innovative technologies in recycling plastic waste, especially low-value plastic waste, thereby advancing the plastic circular economy in Vietnam:
1. Close the loop: Applying advanced technology, cooperating with partners in the value chain to design and manufacture plastic packaging products that can be reusable or recycled;
2. Stop the waste: Enhance and promote the use of recycled plastic products.
Some typical projects:
- Recycled plastic road
- Eco bricks and tiles from low-value plastic waste
- Recycled plastic pellets
- Waste to Energy, turning plastic waste into RDF
- Recycled packaging: promoting 100% recyclable design and producing packaging materials that can be usable and recyclable
Task 4: Dialogue and develop supportive policies to promote the Circular economy in plastic waste management.
The long-term vision for this task includes:
- Supporting the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment in developing a legal framework to facilitate the introduction of plastics into the circular economy;
- Promoting policies that encourage technology adoption and innovation;
- Contributing to the comprehensive adoption of extended producer liability (EPR);
Welcome 24 newly joined members
Also at the workshop, the Public - Private Collaboration for Plastic Waste Management was pleased to welcome 24 new members in addition to the original 04 founding members. With a diverse composition from local governments, recycled plastic companies, schools, non-governmental organizations and enterprises with a high commitment to sustainability, there is no doubt that Public - Private Collaboration for Plastic Waste Management will strongly expand the initial achievements and efforts built in the past two years.
This conference promises to bring many landmark changes to the process of building a circular economy of plastic waste in Vietnam.
Speaking at the conference:
Mr. Phan Tuan Hung, Director of Legal Department, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment: “The establishment and development of the Public-Private Collaboration group creates synergy, establishes a model of cooperation to solve the current plastic waste problem in Vietnam. This is a practical forum to help the Government, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment have practical initiatives and discussions, and grasp the problems and difficulties that the private sector is facing to support and improve the legal policy system”.
Mr. Ekkasit Lakkananithiphan, General Director of Dow Vietnam: “At Dow, we have the responsibility and opportunity to pioneer in addressing global challenges. We are delighted to see more and more stakeholders together promoting the circular economy in Vietnam. As a materials science and solutions company, we will continue to work with relevant organizations to stop the waste in the environment and to close the loop by innovating scientific and technological solutions to directly address both climate change and plastic waste.”
Mr. Thanapat Kaweetraiphop, Commercial Director of Long Son Petrochemical Company Limited under SCG: “Public Private Collaboration for Plastic Waste Management has worked to find solutions for pilot projects related to plastic waste management in Hanoi, Can Tho and Ba Ria Vung Tau, suitable to each local context and can be maintained for a long time. To expand the framework and scale to other areas, we need continuous support and cooperation from all levels of government and partners in the plastic waste management chain to build a sustainable Circular Economy".
Ms. Nguyen Thi Bich Van, the President of Unilever Vietnam: “Public - Private Collaboration in Plastic Waste Management is an urgent and highly practical solution in promoting the Circular Economy model in Plastic Waste Management in Vietnam to build a Vietnam without plastic waste, thereby contributing to realizing the Government's commitment to bring net emissions to 'zero' by mid-century at the COP26 Climate Conference in Glasgow . We hope that the partnership will not only stop at the founders, but will expand and grow stronger with the participation of more organizations and enterprises with the same vision across the country, to create a synergistic strength of Public - Private and achieve results that have far-reaching and profound effects on the whole society".
About Dow Vietnam:
Dow (NYSE: DOW) combines global breadth; asset integration and scale; focused innovation and materials science expertise; leading business positions; and environmental, social and governance (ESG) leadership to achieve profitable growth and deliver a sustainable future. The Company's ambition is to become the most innovative, customer centric, inclusive and sustainable materials science company in the world. Dow's portfolio of plastics, industrial intermediates, coatings and silicones businesses delivers a broad range of differentiated, science-based products and solutions for its customers in high-growth market segments, such as packaging, infrastructure, mobility and consumer applications. Dow operates 104 manufacturing sites in 31 countries and employs approximately 35,700 people. Dow delivered sales of approximately $55 billion in 2021. References to Dow or the Company mean Dow Inc. and its subsidiaries. For more information, please visit www.dow.com or follow @DowNewsroom on Twitter.
Dow has been present in Vietnam since 1995. Currently, the company has about 110 employees at 03 facilities: Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi and 01 factory in Dong Nai province, serving in people care, infrastructure and plastic packaging industries. Dow is a partner contributing to Vietnam's economic development by adding value for advanced manufacturing industries, providing innovative and sustainable solutions in order to help Vietnam tackle challenges, while also taking care of the Vietnamese community. For more information, please access vn.dow.com.
SCG, one of the leading conglomerates in the ASEAN region, comprises three core businesses: Cement-Building Materials, Chemicals, and Packaging (SCGP) with more than 200 companies under its umbrella and approximately 57,000 employees. Today, with a total of 23 companies across Vietnam driven by more than 15,000 employees, SCG offers a variety of premium products and services to markets.
Long Son Petrochemical Company Limited (LSP) - the owner of the Petrochemicals Complex in Southern Vietnam – is a subsidiary of SCG. For more information, please access https://www.scg.com/vn/
About Unilever Vietnam:
Unilever is one of the top multinational companies in the world, specializing in personal care, home care and food, currently operating in more than 190 countries and territories. Launched in Vietnam in 1995, Unilever is one of the most famous enterprises in the consumer industry, not only thanks to products attached with daily lives of millions of Vietnamese people but also its active contribution to the sustainable development of the country for the past 27 years. For more information, please access www.unilever.com.vn.
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