Hanoians exchange recyclable trash for "clean" gifts

By Tat Dinh   September 5, 2020 | 10:15 pm PT
Hanoians exchange recyclable trash for "clean" gifts
A trash collection point in Hanoi's Dong Da District. Photo by VnExpress/Tat Dinh.
Hundreds of Hanoians, every Saturday, are exchanging bags of plastic, paper and metal trash for personal hygiene products.

At a trash collection point in Dong Da District, staff are on hand to receive the recyclables. Depending on the amount, people are given soap, shampoo, hand sanitizer and facial cleansers in exchange for their trash. Last Saturday, in just over two hours, more than 1.5 tons of recyclables were collected.

Holding a gift bag, Tran Van Thiem, 50, from Dong Da District said: "It’s a waste to throw away plastic stuff and cans together with other garbage. I hope that this activity will be maintained for a long time to form a habit and encourage people to recycle their waste."

The activity of exchanging recyclable waste for gifts is part of a waste sorting at source project implemented by the Hanoi Urban Environment Company (URENCO) since mid-August. The garbage is divided into two categories: recyclables and other waste.

Every Saturday morning, environmental workers will receive recycled waste at seven points in the four districts of Hoan Kiem, Hai Ba Trung, Ba Dinh and Dong Da. Residents can also install a mobile app and contact environmental staff to have their recyclables picked up at home.

Nguyen Thi Thuy Ninh, Deputy Manager of Sales and Communications at URENCO, said the main goal of the project was to reduce the amount of waste in the landfill sites. The city's two largest landfills are now overloaded. Landfills will no longer be a suitable solution for processing waste in the long term, she said.

Hanoi had begun implementing a 3R (Reuse, Reduce, Recycle) waste classification project 14 years ago. However, this project only lasted three years due to inappropriate waste treatment technology being used then.

The capital city generates 6,500 tons of waste every day, of which 5,000 tons are transported to the Nam Son landfill in Soc Son District, 1,300 tons are buried in the Xuan Son landfill in Son Tay District and the rest are processed in several small incinerators.

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