Benefits of recycling
Data compiled by the Vietnam Plastics Association’s (VPA) show that the domestic plastics industry is facing raw material shortages. With an annual growth rate of 16-18 percent, the plastics industry has become one of Vietnam’s fastest growing industries. There are about 2,000 plastics businesses nationwide, 450 of which manufacture packaging and discharge a large amount of waste daily, including plastic bags.
In 2018, Vietnam imported 5.59 million tonnes of plastic materials worth US$9.1 billion, up 11.9 percent in volume and 20 percent in value from 2017. VPA predicted that the resin demand would increase 10 percent yearly, and the plastics industry would need about 10 million tonnes of raw materials for production and export by 2023, of which 2.6 million tonnes or 26 percent could be produced in Vietnam and the remaining 7.4 million tonnes or 74 percent would be imported.
While plastic scrap imports are being tightened, plastic waste recycling has been demonstrating its advantages in terms of energy efficiency in primary plastic production, savings of non-renewable resources such as oil, and solutions for a range of environmental problems related to urban area appearance, sewage congestion and land degradation, among others.
According to VPA, businesses can reduce production costs by more than 15 percent if they recycle and reuse 35-50 percent of their plastic waste. Opportunities for plastic waste recyclers include government incentives and the plastics industry’s demand for raw materials. These businesses nonetheless face the challenge of adhering to environmental standards through advanced machinery and technology procurement and environmental law observation.
Incentives for recyclers
The government has issued preferential policies encouraging businesses to procure modern waste (including plastic waste) recycling equipment and technology. Plastic waste recycling is expected to minimize the dependence on plastic imports and meet 50 percent of the demand for raw materials for domestic plastic production.
Waste must be sorted at its source. Localities must thoroughly implement investment promotion policies adopted by the government and industries to speed up investment in and development of waste gathering and treatment infrastructure.
The Vietnam Environment Protection Fund (VEPF) is enabling plastics recycling enterprises to access preferential credit at an annual interest of 2.6-3.6 percent/year, and they can borrow up to 70 percent of their project investment capital. Environmentally friendly technology solutions must be applied in plastics recycling and reuse, and production of biodegradable plastic products. VPA encourages plastic recycling businesses to prioritize the use of domestic plastic waste.
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