Vietnam to apply pay-as-you-throw model by 2025

By Hoang Thuy, Viet Tuan   November 17, 2020 | 11:44 pm PT
Vietnam to apply pay-as-you-throw model by 2025
Garbage trucks are seen at Nam Son, the biggest landfill in Hanoi, October 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh.
Vietnam will start charging households according to the amount of garbage they discard no later than 2025, as approved by the parliament.

The legislative National Assembly passed the amendment to the Law on Environment Protection on Tuesday to have all households sort their trash into three groups: recyclable waste, food waste, and the rest.

Trash must be gathered into eco-friendly bags in accordance with their classification, with collection units reserving the right to refuse their removal should any family or business fail to meet the requirement.

The law states the cost of collecting, transferring and treating the waste would be calculated based on the volume of trash one household discards, which means the more they throw away, the higher the fee.

Though the amended law has been passed and will take effect from January 1, 2022, specific regulations and guidance on sorting trash and applying the fee are yet to be determined by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.

Yet as decided by the NA, those regulations and guidance must be issued and approved by the government no later than December 31, 2024 so they could all take effect in 2025.

The People’s Committee, the highest executive unit, in each city and province, would be in charge of garbage classification.

Effective since 2010, the environment law stipulates people have to sort trash at source, but after a decade, this has yet to be done, with all types of garbage ending up at landfills across Vietnam.

In March this year, Vietnam Environment Administration (VEA), the consulting arm of the environment ministry, suggested applying the pay-as-you-throw model to the amended law.

The administration said it would draw on the experience of several other countries in charging a trash collection fee in accordance with the amount of bags needed by one household. Eventually, households that discard more trash would have to buy more bags.

"Fees collected from selling eco-friendly garbage bags will be spent on collecting, transporting and treating trash," said Nguyen Thuong Hien, deputy head of the VEA.

Families in urban areas now pay garbage collection fees of VND25,000-30,000 ($1.08-1.29) per month.

Commenting on the amended law, Minister Tran Hong Ha said, "The new pricing mechanism will push people to sort trash at source and help reduce the amount of trash dumped into the environment."

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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