German technology supports Vietnam in plastic waste recycling.
In 2024, the PET/HDPE plastic recycling plant is expected to officially come into operation. This will be the first plastic recycling plant capable of producing food-grade plastic in the Northern region. The project is a collaboration between ALBA Asia Group and VietCycle Joint Stock Company.
A shift in the approach to plastic waste is crucial.
According to the World Bank, Vietnam disposes of approximately 3 million tons of plastic waste on land annually, with around 0.28 to 0.73 million tons of plastic waste ending up in the ocean. The overuse of plastic products, especially non-biodegradable plastic bags and single-use plastic items, is causing severe environmental consequences. The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MoNRE) states that the current situation of plastic waste pollution is grave, with plastic waste levels remaining alarmingly high. This poses a significant burden on the environment. Of the 25 million tons of solid household waste generated each year, only 30% is treated through incineration or organic fertilizer production, while over 70% is directly landfilled. Plastic waste, including plastic bags, accounts for approximately 8%-12%.
According to assessments from the Institute of Marine and Island Research, plastic waste constitutes between 50% to 80% of marine litter. Currently, Vietnam ranks fourth globally in the amount of plastic waste discharged into the sea, with an annual volume ranging from 0.28 to 0.73 million tons (equivalent to approximately 6% of the world’s total plastic waste discharged into the sea).
Experts identify the primary sources of plastic pollution in Vietnam as being from land-based sources and marine activities, including coastal tourism.
In many provinces and cities, local authorities are struggling to collect, transport, and process the increasing volumes of waste. This situation is expected to worsen with rapid urbanization, economic growth, and population increase.
At the World Economic Forum’s launch of the “National Action Partnership on Plastic Waste in Vietnam,” Minister of MoNRE Tran Hong Ha emphasized that the current challenges of plastic waste in the environment are not due to the fault of plastic products but rather our usage and disposal practices of plastic products.
Therefore, there is a need to change our approach to plastic through scientific management, increased recycling, and reuse of plastic products to extend their lifecycle. This will contribute to minimizing natural resource exploitation and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Only through such measures can we fully harness the potential of plastic products and contribute to environmental protection and climate change adaptation.
German Technology in Vietnam
In a joint effort to combat climate change with Vietnam, ALBA Asia Group and VietCycle Company have announced the signing of a cooperation agreement to develop the largest PET/HDPE plastic recycling plant producing high-quality food packaging in Vietnam. The planned investment for the plant is up to USD 50 million, with a capacity of up to 48,000 tons per year.
This recycling plant will utilize advanced technology from Germany to produce rPET (recycled PET) that meets international standards. With a total investment of over 50 million USD, the plant is expected to be completed and operational by 2024.
Hoang Van Thuc, the head of the Environmental Pollution Control Department (Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment), believes that this agreement is a significant contribution to Vietnam’s environmental pollution prevention efforts.
Dr. Axel Schweitzer, Chairman and Shareholder of ALBA Asia Group, stated, “The project will contribute to essential solutions for the increasing issue of plastic waste in Vietnam. It will also create a substantial number of green jobs and improve social welfare for many informal waste collectors. Personally, this is as important to me as the positive environmental impact and economic success.”
The collaboration between ALBA and VietCycle will enable the expansion of VietCycle’s waste collection network. ALBA and VietCycle will work together to promote gender equality and social integration in the waste collection system and the entire plastic recycling industry.
In addition to constructing a standardized recycling plant, the collaboration between VietCycle and Alba also involves expanding VietCycle’s network of waste pickers and bottle collectors from around 2,500 to over 23,000 individuals, reaching at least 500 scrap collection points nationwide. The joint venture of the two companies will support these workers in more efficiently conducting waste collection and sorting activities, while also providing welfare benefits such as health insurance and social insurance.
Mr. Hoang Van Thuc, the head of the Environmental Pollution Control Department at the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, also highly appreciates the potential of the collaboration between Alba and VietCycle in promoting waste collection, sorting, recycling, and moving towards a circular economy model. This marks an important milestone in the trust, companionship, and cooperation of international partners in Vietnam’s sustainable development goals, transitioning to a circular economy, and committing to carbon neutrality.
According to statistics from the Vietnam Plastics Association, the amount of plastic waste and plastic bags in Vietnam constitutes approximately 8%-12% of solid household waste. However, only about 11%-12% of this plastic waste and bags are processed or recycled, while the remaining majority is primarily disposed of through landfilling, incineration, and release into the environment. This situation could lead to environmental disasters, particularly ocean pollution.
Source: Foreign Information Department – Ministry of Information and Communications