You don't need a plastic bag for every little purchase

By Thanh Le   June 6, 2023 | 04:00 pm PT
You don't need a plastic bag for every little purchase
Plastic waste discarded along a street in Da Nang City, March 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Nguyen Dong
Vietnam is overloaded with plastic waste, but our readers believe that if every single person can make a small change, we will see things get better.

"Many countries around us have reduced plastic waste by restricting the use of plastic bags in shopping malls and convenience stores. In Vietnam, we have only asked for change through banners. We need stronger interventions to change people's habits. Almost all shops and stores in Vietnam, and street-side vendors, resort to single-use plastic bags and plastic cups without thinking. Any motorbike has a storage space under its seat, but many of us still pick up a blister pack of pills from the drug store with a plastic bag, or a snack from the convenience store with a plastic bag. Imagine how many plastic bags each of us need to dump every day with all our shopping needs."
Vo Thi Kim Chi

"Since Covid-19, more drink shops have switched to single-use plastic cups. While that could help with preventing transmissions, it has added to the burden for the environment. Also, the Vietnamese are yet to care about sorting trash. People in the countryside used to treat organic waste on their own by burying it, but now they are dumping all kind of waste together in their fields. We are overloaded with waste and we need a grand campaign to deal with it."
Pham Minh

"Businesses play a huge part in changing consumer behavior. Imagine if all the cashiers asked every customer ‘Do you need a plastic bag?’ The customer, after being asked so many times, would have to think again, and gradually get rid of the habit. But businesses are making use of easy regulations in environmental protection, and the easy mindset of the consumers. Look at the way they pack an item with unnecessary layer-upon-layer of packaging. Plastic waste is surrounding us, right now, not in another decade, not in another century. It's all over the streets, we walk past piles of plastic waste every day. Do we not see that, or are we accepting to live with that?"
Bui Thu Hien

"The problem needs action from consumers, producers and the authorities. For example, we can set rules requiring that supermarkets must have degradable bags, and sellers of electronics or products with batteries must collect them when they are out of use."
Le Lam

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