Sunday, October 27, 2013

Vietnam Update: Turning scrap into cash: still a long way to go (14 Oct 2013)

Turning scrap into cash: still a long way to goThứ hai, ngày 14 tháng 10 năm 2013 cập nhật lúc 09:26
In many countries, scrap recycling brings about high economic efficiency, while reducing environmental pollution. Meanwhile in Vietnam, although HCM city has implemented waste sorting at source since 1999, the process is still not as successful as expected.
Looking into world experience as a reference

According to the US-based Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI), each year the scrap-recycling industry in the U.S. contributes over $ 90 billion to its national economy, accounting for 0.6% of the GDP and creating nearly 460,000 jobs.
According to the UN , Brazil is the country with the largest e-waste volume among emerging markets. An average Brizillian disposes of 96,000 tons of computers, 17,000 tons of printers and 2,200 tons of mobile phones each year. For metal parts, they either recycle or transform into raw materials. The boards may be fixed, refurbished and exported to Japan. Those types containing chemicals or dangerous acids go through treatment to prevent harmful effects to the environment. In Japan, recycling and re-use of waste are always encouraged through tax incentives and preferential financial policies. Waste sorting is required of all citizens. The environment agencies would come to have collect the classified waste and transfer it to waste treatment plants.
Some countries such as Thailand and Singapore are able to save as much as 50% - 55% of materials such as paper, plastics and heavy metals, etc each year, thanks to the adoption of suitable recycling methods.

Reflection on domestic situation
In Vietnam, waste sorting at source was piloted from 1999 to 2001 in HCM city. At that time the city had not built a synchronous system of solid waste management, so after coming out from families, the already-classified waste was dumped into a miscellaneous pool. This was why the program failed. In 2001 , the city continued to implement waste sorting at source for 6 districts, including Districts 1 , 4 , 5 , 6 , 10 and Cu Chi suburban district, with a total budget of about 284 billion VND. Unfortunately, the 2nd project was again unsuccessful because the district could not afford to equip themselves with garbage trucks to carry the classified waste. By 2010, Da Phuoc, a well-equipped solid waste treatment complex, each day received and provided safe treatment for 3,000 tons of garbage from the whole city. Here, Vietnam Solid Waste Treatment (VWS ), Ltd., invested in a waste recycling sorting plant, worth of more than $ 10 million; and a compost fertilizer plant, worth of more than $ 7 million . It is expected that in early 2014, a plant designed to produce electricity from gas extracted from the sanitary waste burial site in the complex, with a capacity of 12MW, would come into operation . These works received positive comments from the leaders of related governing bodies, in terms of infrastructure, waste treatment technology and waste quality. However, after 3 years since the recycling and sorting plant of VWS company was completed, the program has stayed dormant because there is no waste sorted at source  for the plant to operate. Not only does the failure in waste sorting at source cause financial damage to VWS but it is also a waste of resources because everday the waste is still being taken to waste burial sites.
In Vietnam, waste sorting at source has been piloted for approximately 10 years, but we are just in the initial phase in comparison with many countries. In America, in order that the people acquire the habit to carry out waste sorting at source, the government had to propagate it for 50 years .
According to statistics of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Hanoi and HCM City alone annually generates about 30,000 tonnes of waste, including household waste, industrial waste and medical waste. Among this, as much as 50 % - 70 % contain those compounds that can be recycled and or used to create new sources of energy, but only about 10 % is recycled and reused. Therefore, if we are able to utilize this amount of waste, it is likely to become a huge resource in the future.

Hoang Son

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