Domestic waste management in Vietnam: Sorting guide for households
On January 1, 2022, the Law on Environmental Protection 2020 went into effect with various new regulations regarding domestic waste collection. Particularly, households and individuals who do not segregate their waste will be refused pickup and punished. Accordingly, Evergreen Labs will show you how to effectively sort solid waste at home in order to comply with the law, with the ultimate goal of reducing waste from landfills and, eventually, preventing land, water, and air pollution.
Domestic waste management in Vietnam
According to a national report on solid waste management issued by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, the volume of domestic solid waste in Vietnam increased by 46% between 2010 and 2019, rising from 44,400 tons per day in 2010 to roughly 64,658 tons per day in 2019. Hanoi and HCMC produced over 12,000 tons of domestic solid waste per day in 2019, accounting for approximately 33.6% of all domestic solid waste in urban areas, the report revealed.
Meanwhile, in 2019, the national domestic solid waste collection rate was at 92%, implying that around 8% of all domestic solid waste produced was not collected and was consequently dumped into the environment. A shortage of waste sorting facilities and an inadequate focus on daily waste reduction remain major difficulties in the management of domestic solid waste. Waste treatment including recycling initiatives remains restricted, while the dominant method of waste burial consumes space, harms the environment, and also leads to open pit burning. As the amount of solid waste produced grows, large landfills in cities such as HCMC, Da Nang, and Hanoi have been overburdened, affecting people’s lives. The first and most important step in reversing this dire situation is to separate waste so that it can be handled properly at the source.
On January 1, 2022, the Law on Environmental Protection 2020 went into effect with various new regulations regarding domestic waste collection. According to Clause 2, Article 77 of the Law, daily-life solid waste collection and transport establishments have the right to refuse to collect and transport daily-life solid wastes of households and individuals who do not separate them by type or fail to use the proper packaging, and to notify the competent authority for inspection and handling in accordance with the law. Most recently, Decree No. 45/2022/ND-CP stipulates that violations in domestic waste sorting can result in fines ranging from 500,000 VND (21.4 USD) to 1 million VND (42.8 USD). The new regulation went into force on August 25, 2022.
Sorting guide for household waste
Clause 1, Article 75 of the Law on Environmental Protection states that daily-life solid waste from households and individuals must be classified as follows: Solid waste capable of being reused or recycled; Food waste; Other domestic solid waste. Evergreen Labs will show you how to effectively sort solid waste at home in order to comply with the law, with the ultimate goal of reducing waste from landfills and, eventually, preventing land, water, and air pollution.
Solid waste capable of being reused or recycled
Always consider reuse before recycling. Before throwing away used items, consider whether they are worth repurposing for something else, such as selling at second-hand stores, using them for DIY projects, or any other idea that comes to mind. After sorting waste, you can sell it to local waste workers, take it to local collection centers, or send it to collection points where it will be picked up to be recycled. It’s especially crucial to support informal waste workers since they are the unsung heroes on the front lines of recovery and are often seen sifting through waste to gather all tradeable items such as cardboard, metal, and plastic bottles. Another alternative is to send the waste to organizations and individuals who are able to transform your waste into new products. However, the most essential thing is that you rethink before purchasing anything and reduce your consumption, particularly of single-use products.
Now let’s separate this type of waste into 3 categories:
(1) Paper – discarded paper, newspapers, magazines, receipts, cardboard, drink cartons, and anything else made of paper that’s dry/uncontaminated
Tetra Pak, a Swedish food processing and packaging solutions company, now runs a program to buy and recycle used drink cartons. So far, three organizations, Lagom Vietnam, Tien Thanh Paper, and VECA, have confirmed their participation in the waste collection program. These organizations will purchase papers from waste collectors and sell them to the Dong Tien Paper Factory in Binh Duong. Papers then will be recycled into useful items such as industrial wrapping paper, roofing sheets, and ecological flat sheets. The program’s collection sites are currently located in 862 schools in Hanoi and 75 public locations around the country. The list is shown below.
(2) Plastic – bottles, plastic bags, wraps, cutlery, and anything else made of plastic (this can include polystyrene food containers that are free of food waste)
In addition to selling discarded items to local waste workers and local collection centers, you can also send waste to collection points where it will be converted into new products. ReForm Plastic is a social enterprise located in Da Nang, aiming to solve the plastic waste crisis by transforming all plastic waste into value, especially up-cycling low-value plastic waste into high-quality, durable, and highly applicable products such as furniture and construction products. In addition, ReForm Plastic has established a number of waste collection and segregation sites, commonly known as Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs). The material that cannot be traded, mainly low-value or orphan plastic, gets brought to the ReForm Plastic factories where it is processed into new products. There are currently 6 MRFs across Da Nang and Hoi An cities. ReForm Plastic continues to expand its operation across Vietnam and the beyond as the 9th factory is underway. The collection programs will be included with new factories as needed.
(3) Aluminum/metal (cans, steel utensils, etc.)
All metal cans, including aluminum and steel, are infinitely recyclable, from canned food to soda and aerosol cans. Because metals are nonrenewable natural resources, their supply is limited, which is why it’s critical to recycle your cans. Furthermore, metals may be recycled several times without losing quality. Instead of putting them in your recycling bin, you may sell the cans to waste collectors or bring them straight to the recycling center. Ensure that all cans are free of any liquids or foods that may have been left in the container.
(4) Miscellaneous – pack and separate according to these groups:
Consider the ability of certain sorts of waste to be reused, such as glass bottles/ceramic pots that can be used to plant trees, or outdated products that may be swapped with secondhand vendors/stores. If it is damaged or broken, place it in separate bags and carry it to the appropriate waste collection sites, then label the bags for easy identification.
a. Glass/ceramic wares (bottles, pots, etc.)
Glass is packaging that is both reusable and recyclable in an endless loop. Aside from selling to waste collectors or bringing it to a recycling center, it’s worth contacting any glass collection programs in your community. O-I BJC Vietnam Glass Limited, a leading glass container manufacturer in Vietnam, has established several glass collection programs in HCMC, including glass collection hubs, glass collection events, and pick-up services. It is estimated that 14 tons of glass have been collected since the program’s launch in November – 2020, which is equivalent to around 80.000 glass bottles and jars.
b. Electronics (batteries, calculators, phones, wires, cables, light bulbs, and small electrical items)
In terms of electronic waste, the United Nations defines it as any discarded product that contains hazardous, toxic, and corrosive materials like mercury, cadmium, lithium, and lead, which can endanger human and environmental health. You can sell your old or broken device to used electronic purchasers or return it to your original point of sale if such a service is available. Still, you can collect batteries for recycling, and numerous collection locations are mentioned below.
In addition, Vietnam Recycles is a free electronic waste take-back and recycling program initiated by electronic manufacturers. All used electronic devices collected through this program will be safely processed in order to achieve maximum recovery rate of natural resources and ensure a professional electronic waste disposal process that meets the standards prescribed by regulations of environmental law.
c. Fabric/shoes/rubber/leather (T-shirts, handbags, sneakers, rubber gloves, etc.)
Consider clothes recycling before tossing your garments in the trash. Depending on the condition of the clothes, there are several options to recycle them, ranging from donating to selling to upcycling. Donating may be the most obvious way to recycle clothes, whether for friends, family, or underprivileged communities. Old garments can also be repurposed; for example, a worn-out shirt or sweater can be turned into a pillow cover, or old blankets and flannel sheets might be turned into a pet bed.
Food waste is categorized as wet waste. Examples include fruit peels, leftovers, vegetable skins, undercooked food, and coffee or tea powder. Wet waste can also include garden waste like leaves and twigs. Install a drum, container, or bin for such waste to be deposited in order for it to be turned into rich organic compost. You can also create animal feed out of them. Wet and dry waste must be separated because dry waste must be uncontaminated in order to be recycled.
Other domestic solid waste:
Other types of domestic solid waste are non-recyclables, such as food, and soiled/wet materials like used diapers and tissues. Sanitary waste includes adult and baby diapers, synthetic sanitary napkins, hygiene items, and dirty napkins. Linens, bedding, things tainted with blood or other fluids, dirty plaster casts, and other forms of dressing are classified as medical waste. Medical and sanitary waste must be burned, microwaved, or autoclaved to prevent disease transmission. These types of waste must be packaged, labeled, and given to entities that collect and transport daily-life solid waste to be properly processed.
Waste collection points
For many types of recyclable waste
1) GreenPoints Vietnam: 214/19/6E, Nguyễn Văn Nguyễn Street, Tân Định Ward, District 1
1) Green Life – A9, 128C Đại La Street, Đồng Tâm ward, Hai Bà Trưng district
1) Green Da Nang: 129/80 Tiểu La Street, Hòa Cường Bắc Ward, Hải Châu District
2) MRF Khuê Mỹ: Opposite 39 Mai Thúc Lân street, Khuê Mỹ Ward, Ngũ Hành Sơn District
1) MRF Tân Thành: Opposite Sound of Silence Café – 40 Nguyễn Phan Vinh Street, Tân Thành
2) MRF Tân An: Opposite the Department of Education & Training of Hoi An City – 56 Nguyễn Công Trứ Street, Tân An
3) MRF Cẩm Châu: At Bà Lê Market, Lê Thánh Tông Street, Cẩm Châu
4) MRF Cẩm Hà: At Cẩm Hà Kindergarten, Đoàn Kết Street, Cẩm Hà
5) MRF Cẩm Nam: 14 Lê Trung Đình Street, Cẩm Nam
For papers and drink cartons:
862 schools and 75 public collection points across Vietnam: See here
1) People’s Committee of Ward 15, District 4 – 132 Tôn Thất Thuyết, Ward 15, District 4
2) People’s Committee of Ward 17, Phú Nhuận District – 22 Nguyễn Văn Trỗi, Ward 17, Phú Nhuận District
3) People’s Committee of Ward 2, Bình Thạnh District – 14 Phan Bội Châu, Ward 2, Bình Thạnh District
4) People’s Committee of Ward 9, District 3 – 82 Bà Huyện Thanh Quan, Ward 9, District 3
5) MM Mega Market An Phú Center – Area B, New Urban Area An Phu – An Khánh, An Phú Ward, District 2
6) Hanel Trading Company – 260A Điện Biên Phủ, Ward 7, District 3
7) Canon Lê Bảo Minh Service Center – 95B-97-99 Trần Hưng Đạo, District 1
8) BK Solar Company – 47 Lê Văn Thịnh, District 2
9) GO Supermarket District 7 – 99 Nguyễn Thị Thập, Tân Phú Ward, District 7
1) Cultural House of Nghĩa Tân Ward – 45 Nghĩa Tân Street, Nghĩa Tân Ward, Cầu Giấy District
2) Environmental Protection Sub-Department – 17 Trung Yên 3 (former location is Cultural house of Yên Hòa ward, Trung Kính street)
3) People’s Committee of Quán Thánh Ward – 157 Đội Cấn Street, Đội Cấn Ward, Ba Dinh District
4) Thành Công Ward People’s Committee – 9 Thành Công Street, Thành Công Ward, Ba Dinh District
5) Hanoi University of Social Sciences and Humanities – 336 Nguyễn Trãi, Thanh Xuan Trung Ward, Thanh Xuan District
6) People’s Committee of Tràng Tiền Ward, Hoàn Kiếm District – 02 Cổ Tân, Tràng Tiền Ward, Hoàn Kiếm District
7) Hanel Trading Company – No. 2 Chùa Bộc, Láng hạ Ward, Đống Đa District
8) Canon Le Bao Minh Service Center – 130A Giảng Võ, Ba Đình
9) Pin hà Nội – 14 alleys 6 lanes 106 Hoàng Quốc Việt Street
1) GO Danang Supermarket – 257 Hùng Vương Street, Vĩnh Trung Ward, Thanh Khê District
2) The Books – 12 Cao Thắng Street, Hải Châu District
3) “Battery house” boxes along Hoàng Văn Thụ Street, Hải Châu District
1) ANNAM GOURMET Saigon Center – Basement 2, Log 11/12, Saigon Centre Building, 65 Lê Lợi Street, Bến Nghé Ward, District 1
2) ANNAM GOURMET Hai Bà Trưng – 16-18 Hai Bà Trưng Street, Bến Nghé Ward, District 1
3) Xanh Cà phê và cơm – 55 Nguyễn Khắc Nhu Street, District 1
1) ANNAM GOURMET An Phú – 41 Thảo Điền Street, Thảo Điền Ward, District 2
2) ANNAM GOURMET Estella Place – 88 Song Hành Street, An Phú Ward, District 2
3) Thảo Điền Eco Wellness – 8C 12 Street, Thảo Điền Ward, District 2
1) ANNAM GOURMET Riverpark Premier – 64-70 Nguyễn Đức Cảnh Street, Tân Phong Ward, District 7
Bình Thạnh District:
1) Ngách 160 Café – 160/29 Bùi Đình Túy Street, Ward 12, Q.Bình Thạnh
2) ANNAM GOURMET Saigon Pearl – Opal Tower, Shophouse SH06-07, 92 Nguyễn Hữu Cảnh Streer, Bình Thạnh District
3) Liên Kết Xanh Store – 8 Nguyễn Huy Lượng Street, 14 Ward, Bình Thạnh District
Bình Tân District:
1) Vườn Nắng Outdoor Cafe – 144 Street 1A, Bình Hưng Hòa B, Bình Tân District
Củ Chi District:
1) 3A An Nhơn Tây Street, Củ Chi District