More life cycle for waste
According to Mr. Tran Tuan Duong, CEO of Hoa Phat Group, the production of millions of tons of steel at its Dung Quat plant generates a huge amount of heat. In order not to waste this heat source, Hoa Phat has invested in a plant with a capacity of up to 240 MW to convert this huge amount of waste heat into input material for power generation. By doing so, Hoa Phat has self-supplied up to 80% of the electricity needed for steel production and only needs to purchase the remaining 20%. In addition, the company also promotes the recycling of blast furnace slag into building materials. Fine blast furnace slag powder is a by-product of the production of iron and steel by closed blast furnace technology. Thanks to extremely fast cooling by water under high pressure, blast furnace slag is a very good active mineral additive for cement and concrete that has been used for a long time in the world, as well as in Vietnam. The production of blast furnace slag not only helps Hoa Phat protect the environment, but also creates a stable source of income for the unit.
Similarly, Mr. Fausto Tazzi, General Manager of La Vie Co., Ltd., said that almost all La Vie product packaging is now 100% recyclable. In addition, in early 2021, La Vie used water bottles made from recycled plastic (rPET) that met food safety standards. The representative of this unit also affirmed that it always encourages domestic enterprises to invest in the production of rPET and is willing to purchase qualified products to manufacture product packaging for its company. Previously, in 2019, La Vie and Nestlé Vietnam joined forces with leading consumer goods and packaging companies to found the Packaging Recycling Organization Vietnam (PRO Vietnam).
There are no official statistics on the number of companies that recycle waste in the production process, but according to Assoc. Teacher. – Dr. Phung Chi Sy, Vietnam Association for Nature and Environmental Conservation, There are changes in thinking about waste management in many companies. Many companies have considered waste as a resource, an input material for a new production process. In agriculture, coconut fiber, straw and rice husk discarded from agricultural production activities have become raw materials for the manufacture of straw and carpet mushrooms. In industrial production, many paper and wood product packaging have been collected and recycled to create an additional life cycle for the waste.
Polluters must pay
Vietnam is among the 20 countries with the largest amount of waste in the world. Vietnam is ranked fourth in the world for the release of plastic waste into the environment, estimated at 1.8 million tons per year. However, the country is the world’s second largest importer of plastic waste.
Not only plastic, but Vietnam also imports an average of about 10 million tons of garbage of all kinds every year. Especially in 2019, Vietnam had to import more than 18 million tons of waste, including iron, steel, paper and plastic. How ironic that Vietnam has to import waste for recycling and reuse, but domestically, an abundant source of recyclable materials is wasted and thrown away. Not to mention that it costs a lot of money to deal with this amount of waste.
To address this shortcoming, the Environmental Protection Act 2020, which came into force on January 1, 2022, introduced Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) regulations up to the disposal stage in the waste cycle. life of a product. This means that manufacturers and importers must be responsible for recycling and treating waste to the correct proportions and specifications. This regulation is a solution to increase the national recycling rate and reduce the rate of scrap metal imports, thus reducing plastic waste in the environment.
In line with this regulation, Mr. Fausto Tazzi added that, to have a truly effective EPR mechanism, it is necessary to build a logistics chain for after-use packaging with the participation of all parties involved, including manufacturers, retailers, consumers, waste collectors. , and recyclers. Once this chain is well mastered, the quality of the waste will be assured. Thus, packaging after use can become a valuable raw material, which will continue to return to the production cycle instead of being released into the environment. Authorities must create an equal environment for all parties in the EPR model, and these are necessary conditions for the proper functioning of the EPR system.
From the perspective of a management unit, Mr. Phan Tuan Hung, director of the legal department of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, believed that EPR is an environmental policy that follows the principle of “polluter pays”. “. This approach is effective in sharing the financial burden or part of the responsibility for solid waste management from local authorities with producers and importers. Although a few companies participated, with some pioneering units, it shows that everything is changing for the better.