Friday, 26 Apr 2019

Vietnam moves forward to phase out scrap plastic imports

Updated at Friday, 05 Apr 2019, 15:51
The Hanoitimes - The surge in waste imports has caused congestion at several ports in Vietnam.
The Vietnamese government has reiterated its intention to phase out scrap plastic imports, noting all scrap plastic inflows will be barred beginning in 2025.
Illustrative photo
Illustrative photo
VnExpress reported last week that the government will work through the backlog of scrap plastic containers that remain stuck at the country’s ports.

The country wants to remove unclaimed scrap containers from ports as the seaports have become overwhelmed with scrap imports, according to the government news portal. 

In a latest move, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has requested the Ministries of Transport and Finance to cooperate with local authorities to investigate unclaimed containers of waste materials and to descard or remove them. 

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment was asked to clarify negative impacts of each type of waste and work out a short list of waste imports.

Reuters reported earlier this month that Vietnam will stop issuing new licenses for the import of waste and crack down on illegal shipments.

Vietnam has been one of the five biggest chargers of plastic into ocean while the use of plastic, especially single-use plastic objects, is still rampant in the country.

Plastic headache

Waste imports into Vietnam and other Southeast Asian countries have risen significantly since the Chinese government banned the entry of several types of solid wastes from the beginning of this year, according to Vietnam’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.

The authorities need to prevent waste from entering Vietnam to keep the country from becoming a dumping site, and avoid affecting the environment and people’s lives, the government said on its website last month. 

There were nearly 21,600 containers of recyclables sitting at ports as of late February, according to the article, and nearly half had been sitting for more than three months, VnExpress cited the customs data.

In 2018, Vietnam imported 9.2 million tons of scrap, up 14% on year, including 82,500 tones from the US, making it the sixth largest importer of US plastic throughout the year, according to Resource Recycling.

Waste-processing is a supplemental source of raw materials for Vietnam’s paper, plastic and steel industries. In fact, the demand for paper and plastic scraps as materials for production does exist, but this benefits only the processors, not the environment.
Linh Pham
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