Paid recycling drive to help HCMC turn the tide on trash

By Ha An   November 17, 2020 | 01:00 am PT
Paid recycling drive to help HCMC turn the tide on trash
A worker sorts trash on a garbage truck in Thu Duc District, HCMC, 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Ha An.
Garbage including plastic, paper, metal and glass will soon be collected for recycling via a new network taking shape in HCMC.

State-owned Ho Chi Minh City Urban Environment Co., Ltd (Citenco) would fund public service enterprises and private units to collect recyclable trash from residential areas, schools, state agencies, or scrap yards, it announced on Monday.

Piloted over three years, Citenco would weekly publish the waste exchange rate and drop off locations via its website.

In certain cases, trash will not be exchanged for money but essential products or shopping and travel coupons.

Those contributing large amounts of recyclable waste would be contracted by Citenco under official management.

After collection at the Go Vap District and District 11 stations paper and plastic waste, including single-use plastics, would be transferred to a 6,000-square-meter facility in Binh Tan District, construction of which remains unscheduled.

Other waste will be processed by Packaging Recycling Organization Vietnam, or PRO Vietnam, a coalition of 18 FDI and Vietnamese companies.

The stations are expected to receive 200 tons of waste a day.

Cao Van Tuan, head of the environmental technology department at Citenco, said the project aims to create economic benefits for both individuals and trash collecting units, encouraging the practice of storing trash at source, and reducing the amount of waste being buried.

Pham Phu Ngoc Trai, chairman of PRO Vietnam, said taking part in the initiative proves corporate responsibility in protecting the environment.

He said the organization plans to have all the packaging waste produced by its 18 members collected and recycled by 2030.

In February, HCMC had sorted its trash into just two categories, recyclable and non-recyclable, instead of the previous organic, inorganic and recyclable.

The city has been switching away from burying waste and applying waste incineration technology.

With a gigantic population of 13 million including migrants, HCMC discharges around 9,300 tons of domestic waste per day, the municipal Environment Department said last year.

Vietnam produces 25.5 million tons of solid waste a year, of which 75 percent is buried.

Major landfills in big cities like HCMC, Da Nang and Hanoi have become overloaded and are affecting people's lives.

Hanoi and HCMC spend VND1.2-1.5 trillion ($52-65 million) a year each, or around 3.5 percent of their budget, on collecting and treating garbage.

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