Circular Economy: Optimal Solution for Green Economy

10:46:26 AM | 23/10/2019

Dow and DEEP C Industrial Zones have recently completed the construction of the first 200-meter long reinforced asphalt road in DEEP C Industrial Zones, Hai Phong City, Vietnam. The project is a collaboration between Dow and DEEP C to provide innovative solutions to address plastics waste and advance a circular economy in Vietnam.

A model needs scaling up

Mr. Ekkasit Lakkananithiphan, General Director of Dow Vietnam, said, Dow is working to find new uses for post-consumer plastics to advance the circular economy, retain the value of plastics and keep waste out of the environment. The project value chain is an impressive display of cross-sector collaboration - it brings together local governments, infrastructure investors, asphalt suppliers, waste collectors and the material science industry to help tackle the plastic waste issue in Vietnam.

The post-consumer recycled plastic, mostly flexible packaging such as polyethylene film, is sourced from local waste collector URENCO Hai Phong. The waste is cleaned, dried and shredded before being mixed with asphalt at a temperature between 150 and 180 degrees Celsius. At this temperature, the plastic is completely melted and bonded to the asphalt, helping to create longer lasting, more durable roads.

Before the actual pavement, two laboratory tests were conducted by Vietnam Maritime University with the outcomes satisfying Vietnamese technical and safety requirements. Upon successful execution of the project, more asphalt roads using recycled plastics will be laid all over the DEEP C Industrial Zones.

Mr. Bruno Jaspaert, General Director of DEEP C Industrial Zones, said, the launch of our first recycled plastic road marks a significant milestone in DEEP C’s journey to become the pilot eco-industrial park in Vietnam. The next phase of the project will be completed by November 2019, bringing the total road length to 1.4 km. It will divert a total of 6.5 metric tons of flexible packaging from becoming litter or entering landfills - the equivalent of more than 1.7 million flexible wrappers.

Economic growth in tune with environmental protection

Mr. Nguyen Quang Vinh, General Secretary of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), Vice Chair of Vietnam Business Council for Sustainable Development (VBCSD-VCCI), said that the circular economy has been seen as an optimal solution towards a green economy where economic growth and social and environmental benefits are blended, when Vietnam is facing many challenges of resource exhaustion, environmental pollution, climate change as well as indispensable requirements to fulfil free trade agreements and international agreements that Vietnam is committed to the international community on sustainable development and protection environment.

In the current trend, sustainable development opens up a huge business opportunity of about US$12 billion, as estimated by international organizations, of which the opportunity of circular economy is about US$4.5 billion a year.

“We are struggling between business, investment and production with environmental protection. The circular economy will address this conflict well. The waste-free economy and environmental protection will encourage businesses to introduce innovative technologies, invest to create good technology and integrate into the business model. It is high time to talk less and do more. Vietnamese businesses need to take more actions to achieve the sustainable development goals by 2030, a more sustainable decade for Vietnam, and business plays a great role,” he added.

More broadly speaking, the circular economy is also an inspiration and motivation to encourage businesses to constantly research, innovate and apply disruptive technologies and circular business models. That is the mission that the business needs to fulfil and the job that VBCSD-VCCI is trying to support businesses to deploy the circular economy.

According to Mr. Ernesto Hartikainen, Sitra Senior Economist, developing circular economy models in many countries around the globe will create a system restorative by design retains more volume and value within the economy. Even, a more circular economy can reduce emissions by 56% by 2050.

Anh Mai