A new task force was launched by the Vietnam National Plastic Action Partnership (NPAP) launched to promote innovation and catalyze investment in effective solutions for reducing plastic waste and pollution in Vietnam.
In collaboration with the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Hanoi and its Commercial Section - Innovation Norway, the Task Force held its first meeting to discuss new technologies for Deposit Return Systems (DRS).
The NPAP Innovation and Financing Task Force -- co-chaired by the International Cooperation Department of the Ministry of Natural Science and Environment (MONRE) and the Alliance to End Plastic Waste – brings together government agencies and domestic and international enterprises and organizations to boost innovative ideas and solutions to drive positive changes in plastic reduction, reuse and recycling and to unlock new sources of sustainable financing.
DRS is a scheme where consumers pay a small deposit when purchasing bottles or cans. The deposit is refunded when they return the container to a designated collection point. This scheme economically incentivizes consumers to return used containers for reuse and recycling, reducing pressure on landfills and protecting rivers and oceans from plastic litter.
High-performing DRS can significantly accelerate the circularity of beverage containers like plastic bottles and aluminum cans with high recovery rates and is a key approach for Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) by companies that produce and use such containers.
|Mette Møglestue, Deputy Head of Mission, the Norwegian Embassy in Hanoi, at the event. Photo: Embassy of Norway in Hanoi
In her opening remarks, Mette Møglestue – Deputy Head of Mission, the Norwegian Embassy in Hanoi said: “DRS has proven to be the best-performing system that induces the highest collection and highest recycling rate of beverage containers. Regarded as the world role model for beverage container recovery and recycling, Norway’s DRS is one of the most efficient in the world and is part of the EPR mechanism.”
Chair of the Task Force, Le Ngoc Tuan, Director General of MONRE’s International Cooperation Department, said this is the first task force to be launched and to become operational within the framework of the Vietnam NPAP to meet the requirements of the actual situation after 2 years of implementation in Vietnam.
“This launch demonstrates a suitable approach in line with the overall agenda of Global Plastic Action Partnership (GPAP) and will contribute to supporting and promoting innovative solutions for tackling plastic waste and plastic pollution in Vietnam,” he noted.
|Le Ngoc Tuan, Director General of MONRE’s International Cooperation Department, speaks at the event. Photo: Embassy of Norway in Hanoi
Members of the new Task Force include the Vietnam National Innovation Center (NIC), Dow Vietnam, Unilever, An Phat Holdings, Duy Tan Recycling, GreenHub, Startup Vietnam Foundation (SVF), Innovation Norway, UNDP, and the World Bank. The task force has also attracted the participation of innovators from UNDP’s Ending Plastic Pollution Challenges (EPPIC) such as Galaxy Biotech, who encouraged other innovators to access the NPAP platform and explore new investment opportunities.
Commercial Counsellor of the Norwegian Embassy in Hanoi, Director of Innovation Norway Arne-Kjetil Lian spoke highly of the launch of the Innovation & Financing taskforce, of which Innovation Norway will be a member and affirmed his commitment to contribute knowledge and expertise to the task force. For a successful EPR mechanism, the private sector plays a crucial role as the enforcer of the rules and as the provider of enabling solutions.
He stressed the role of Norwegian companies’ pioneering technologies and solutions as well as expertise in the circular economy sector, noting that lessons with DRS shared at the Workshop will be the first one. “DRS can significantly accelerate the circularity of beverage containers and improve sustainable packaging while promoting changes in consumer behaviors. Besides, an effective DRS system helps increase the collection rate, which in turn, leads to more ambitious recycling targets and ensures that EPR obligations are fulfilled,” said Lian.
Participants shared their experiences and expertise on DRS, including benefits, challenges, and a planned pilot activity and feasibility study to develop policy recommendations on applying DRS in Vietnam. They also discussed the NPAP task force work plan in 2023 that should explore and leverage the current resources for promoting plastic innovations and good practices.
|A plastic landfill in Lao Cai, Vietnam. Photo: VNA
National Plastic Action Partnership (NPAP)
The Vietnam National Plastic Action Partnership (NPAP) is a nationally led multi-stakeholder platform that enables collaboration between the government and other vital partners to turn plastic waste and pollution commitments into actions. The NPAP Leadership Board, including leaders and representatives from over 30 high-level government ministries and departments, embassies and international development partners, domestic and international enterprises, associations, and organizations, is chaired by the Vice Minister of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.
The Vietnam NPAP Secretariat, hosted by UNDP Vietnam, organizes, and supports NPAP’s activities to facilitate meaningful plastic-related initiatives toward the national targets in addressing plastic waste and plastic pollution, shaping a more sustainable circular economy in Vietnam. In 2023, Vietnam NPAP will continue working actively in key impact areas including promoting innovation and financing, informing policy, and developing social inclusivity, to approach innovative solutions and explore new investment opportunities to solve the plastic issues.