Corporate sector climbs recycling bandwagon in top ocean polluter Vietnam

Corporate sector climbs recycling bandwagon in top ocean polluter Vietnam

Plastic bags and other trashes fill the coast in the central province of Thanh Hoa. Photo by Nguyen Viet Hung.

Nine corporate biggies have joined hands to recycle packaging materials, aiming at 100 percent recycling by 2030.

The alliance, non-profit voluntary organization PRO Vietnam, also aims to boost the recycling infrastructure in the country, according to a signing on Friday.

The founding members of PRO Vietnam are nine major multinationals and local giants, some competitors of each other: TH Group which runs the popular TH True Milk brand, Coca-Cola Vietnam, Friesland Campina Vietnam, La Vie, Nestle, Nutifood, Suntory PepsiCo Vietnam, Tetra Pak and Universal Robina Corporation.

The alliance will promote the collection and recycling of packaging among members by increasing recycling rates and minimizing the amount of used packaging dumped into the environment.

It aims to boost consumer awareness of recycling and sorting garbage towards improving the current packaging-collecting ecosystem in Vietnam.

They will also aid recycling programs at treatment plants and recycling factories. The alliance will work closely with the government in recycling through voluntary public-private partnerships. It will also coordinate with university research centers to find suitable environment-friendly solution.

Pham Phu Ngoc Trai – chairman of PRO Vietnam, announced that by 2030, members will ensure that all packaging materials produced by them will be collected and recycled.

Hoang Cong Trang, General Director of the TH Group, said that their first activities will include piloting the collection and recycling of waste in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi. They will also establish a social enterprise to implement specific programs and call for more businesses to join the alliance.

The zero waste movement has picked up momentum in Vietnam with Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc announcing an ambitious goal of zero disposable plastic use in urban stores, markets and supermarkets by 2021 and extending that to the entire nation by 2025.

Vietnam generates around 2,500 tons of plastic waste daily. It is fourth in the list of nations dumping plastic waste in the ocean, according to the United Nations Environment Program.

Last month, Thua Thien-Hue Province asked its civil servants not to use plastic water bottles or plastic bags in the workplace.

Supermarket chain Saigon Co.op has stopped selling plastic straws since last month. Some supermarket chains have begun to use banana leaves instead of plastic to pack vegetables.

In April, the HCMC Open University announced a ban on plastic straws and bottled water on its campus. Teachers and students have to bring their own bottles or use recyclable bottles provided by the university.