Fostering Circular Economy for Waste Sources

11:01:29 AM | 10/5/2021

Vietnam is striving to have 70 - 90% of waste sources in key industrial sectors analyzed by 2025.

The industry and trade sector's environmental protection plan for the 2020-2025 stage was approved by the Prime Minister in Decision 1375/QD-TTg. Accordingly, by 2025, as much as 70-90% of waste sources in key industrial sectors will be assessed and counted, with database completed and policies and regulations on waste control promulgated. 80% of total ash, slag and gypsum generated from power plants, chemical plants, and fertilizer plants will be recycled, reused and remanufactured as production materials, construction materials, and ground-leveling materials that meet environmental requirements.

Change from mindset

This environmental protection plan aims to promote green industrial models in industries; propose building pilot eco-friendly industrial zones, handicraft industries and handicraft zones; training human resources; disseminating legal regulations; raising awareness of responsibility for environmental protection.

Mr. Tran Anh Tan, Deputy Director of the Industrial Safety Techniques and Environment Agency (ISEA) under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, said that the legal system and policies on environmental protection are presently inadequate and must be reviewed and revised completely.

Mr. Tran Van Luong, Chairman of the Vietnam Environmental Industry Association (VEIA), said, the environment of Vietnam is increasingly facing problems that the entire society must take into account. The National Assembly also issued the Law on Environmental Protection in 2020, which also defines the environment industry as an economic sector for development.

The environment industry must be closely linked with technologies of each manufacturing industry to develop. At the same time, this industry must solve problems closely linked to the circular economy, where an industry creates added value for remaining products of other industrial processes.

“Developing the circular economy must be first of all started with perceptions. Authorities and people must know that the circular economy is not involved in treating waste but recycling materials and creating added value for materials that are not used up in a technological process and will be used in a new industry,” he emphasized.

From a business perspective, Mr. Tran Dinh Quyen, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Tin Thanh Group, said that his company has used biomass fuels (e.g. agricultural and forest waste) as alternative to millions of tons of fuel oil (FO), helping reduce millions of tons of CO2 for many localities across the country.

The company has also focused on a circular industrial - agricultural production program for renewable energy development. Tin Thanh currently owns two important fuels to convert into steam power, biomass power, and waste-to-energy. However, in the implementation process, the group and many businesses in the industry are facing numerous difficulties and obstacles arising from mechanisms, policies and legal regulations.

Therefore, like others, the company hoped to receive support from the Government and relevant ministries to create favorable conditions, and have appropriate and timely support policies for scaling up the circular economy in Vietnam. This will accelerate the restructuring of energy, agriculture, environment and socio-economic development of the country.

Waste-to-cash

Referring to outcomes reported by Tin Thanh Group, Vinh Tan 1 Power Company, Thuong Hai SUS Environment Company, Da Loc Construction Trading Joint Stock Company and other entities that have succeeded in carrying out the circular economy for waste, Prof. Vo Tong Xuan pointed out that agricultural waste and industrial waste are valuable resources.

“With current science and technology, businesses have the complete capacity to effectively turn waste into cash. Accordingly, technologically powered factories will turn waste into electricity, fertilizers and construction materials, valuable and useful for life and environment,” Prof. Xuan emphasized.

Moreover, Vietnam is increasingly integrating with the world economy, which will require domestic enterprises to take sustainable steps, improve product quality and accelerate environmental protection.

Therefore, Mr. Hoang Van Vy, Deputy Director of the Northern Environmental Protection Department under the Vietnam Environment Administration (Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment), said that businesses must recognize and change their development strategies, making economic development harmless to the environment for a green - clean economy, and a circular economy for sustainable development.

Mr. Tran Anh Tan said that the Government and the Ministry of Industry and Trade also told central agencies and the business community to identify environmental challenges and issues in their industrial activities (such as electronic waste, solar power, wind power, energy from waste and radiation ) and commercial activities (shifting obsolete and outdated technologies, importing scraps as inputs for production) to build an environmentally friendly clean, green economy and help authorities get specific solutions to take active action to protect the environment and respond to environmental incidents.

Given its special characteristics, the industry and trade sector has significantly contributed to economic development, and businesses in this sector have played an important role in greening the industry, building a green economy and pursuing sustainable development. However, industrial production and commercial activities have also given rise to many environmental issues that need to be addressed.