Golden opportunity for the recycling industry

VCN - The increasing demand for recycled products, combined with domestic legal regulations and policies of export markets, is opening up "golden" opportunities for Vietnam's waste recycling industry. The earlier you invest, the greater the benefits you will receive.
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Duy Tan Recycling's plastic bottle recycling line. Photo: TL
Duy Tan Recycling's plastic bottle recycling line. Photo: TL

Recycling is a mandatory requirement

Sharing at the recent Mekong Connect Forum, Mr. Tran Viet Anh, Chairman of the Vietnam Waste Recycling Association, raised policy movements for the recycling industry in Vietnam. In the EU market, the most recent amendments to the recycled content targets introduced a recycled content ratio of 30% for plastic drinks bottles and contact-sensitive packaging direct contact with food or medical supplies) to PET, 10% for non-PET contact sensitive packaging, and 35% for other plastic packaging by 2030. The draft proposal would also increase those targets to 50% for all contact-sensitive packaging and 65% for other packaging, including beverage bottles, by 2040.

The 2020 Environmental Protection Law stipulates the recycling responsibilities of manufacturers and importers (EPR). Accordingly, businesses have only two options: organize recycling of packaging-related products, or make financial contributions to the Vietnam Environmental Protection Fund to support recycling of packaging products.

With new requirements from market policies as well as legal regulations as above, Mr. Tran Viet Anh recommends that businesses need to update Decrees and Circulars related to recycling issues to be prepared and appropriate implementation methods to meet these regulations. “It's not enough just to buy a machine to recycle, businesses also have to prove the output of recycled products. Along with that are the technical standards of recycled products to ensure environmental regulations and food safety..." - Mr. Tran Viet Anh emphasized.

Ms. Nguyen Thi Thanh My, Deputy Director of Ho Chi Minh City Department of Natural Resources and Environment, said that in order to increase the efficiency of recycling as well as develop the recycling industry in the future, Ho Chi Minh City has assigned the task to the Department of Finance. Resources and Environment conducts investigations and surveys on the recycling situation in the area. Accordingly, the Department of Natural Resources and Environment of Ho Chi Minh City has basic data on recycling facilities in the area as well as scrap purchasing facilities and a network for collection; data on recyclable materials in the area, thereby serving as a foundation for building a plan for waste classification and recycling in Ho Chi Minh City. The Department of Natural Resources and Environment of Ho Chi Minh City has also developed a planning project for solid waste treatment in the city until 2025, with a vision to 2050. This includes regulations as well as orientations for areas and land funds serves waste classification at source and waste recycling. Currently, this project is being submitted to the Ministry of Construction for appraisal.

We must consider trash as a resource

As a pioneer enterprise in the field of plastic waste recycling, Duy Tan Recycling Plastic Company (Duy Tan Recycling) has achieved many impressive successes. Mr. Le Anh, Director of Sustainable Development, Duy Tan Recycling Company shared that he was very proud when he saw plastic water bottles made from recycled Vietnamese plastic sold in the US market. Accordingly, Duy Tan Recycling's factory currently has a capacity of 60,000 tons/year, equivalent to more than four billion plastic bottles recycled each year. When operating at maximum capacity, it can reach 100,000 tons, equivalent to seven billion plastic bottles. In the first ten months of 2023, Duy Tan Recycling recycled 18,200 tons of plastic waste, equivalent to 1.6 billion plastic bottles. Thus, every day ninety tons of plastic waste are collected and recycled, equivalent to seven million bottles. Of these, the domestic consumption rate is 44%, and the export rate to other countries is 56%.

Achieving this result, in addition to ISO standards for management systems, Duy Tan Recycling's products also meet the standards of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), certified by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). European Food Safety (EFSA), thereby affirming the quality of recycled plastic resin products that are safe for health and suitable for producing packaging for food, including drinking water.

In particular, at the end of October 2023, Duy Tan Recycling was awarded a high-tech enterprise certificate by the Ministry of Science and Technology and was recently awarded the title of High Quality Vietnamese Goods - Integration Standard. This shows that the current recycling industry is no longer a rudimentary industry like before but has become a high-tech industry and the company's products not only meet domestic market standards but also fully meet the system. technical standards, international quality, serving export markets.

Talking about opportunities for the recycling industry, Mr. Tran Viet Anh shared that a few days ago, the Vietnam Waste Recycling Association received a delegation from the Taiwan Recycling Association (China) with about fifteen recycling enterprises to find investment opportunities in recycling in Vietnam. "This means they have seen the resources in Vietnam and we are sitting on millions of tons of resources, which are household waste" - Mr. Viet Anh said.

Accordingly, Taiwanese recycling enterprises have come to Ho Chi Minh City and some provinces to learn about, invest in and exploit household waste recycling, even excavating all landfills that have been buried for decades to make recycled materials. Mr. Viet Anh acknowledged that recycling activities seem difficult at first glance, but in fact, they are the future. Because recycling will help reduce environmental problems and create new materials. For example, Duy Tan Recycling is selling recycled PET plastic pellets that are 30% more expensive than genuine plastic pellets.

Mr. Viet Anh also shared that each year the steel industry imports nearly tweenty million tons of coal for fuel. Reducing CO2 emissions according to EU requirements, the steel industry must replace one to two million tons of coal with pellets made from plastic waste. “Many steel industry units have ordered the Vietnam Waste Recycling Association to use plastic waste to create burning pellets in quantities of up to 1,000 tons/day. If we do not exploit household waste, we will lose the opportunity, while Taiwan and Thailand are doing very well. With nearly 10,000 tons of trash every day, Ho Chi Minh City must consider trash as a resource and promote waste collection and classification activities and completely minimize landfilling through recycling" - Mr. Viet Anh said.

By Nguyen Hien/ Quynh Lan

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