The movement of saying ‘no’ to disposable plastic products, especially plastic cups and straws, has forced plastic manufacturers to change production strategies.
The EU Parliament’s ban on the use of disposable plastic products will take effect in 2021 in all member countries.
In South Korea, disposable plastic bags have been eliminated from some groceries since April 1. In the US, New York will follow California to prohibit disposable plastic bags. Multinational groups have also responded to the movement.
In Vietnam, Saigon Co-op, the largest retail chain, has decided to stop selling plastic straws at its 600 supermarkets from May. Some restaurants and tea shops in Hanoi and HCMC do not use disposable straws and cups.
Many Vietnam’s enterprises can exploit the ‘green consumption’ trend to develop their business. Biodegradable bags and bamboo-made straws are being exported and used domestically.
Nicolas Audier, chair of Eurocham, said the ban by the EU Parliament should be seen as an opportunity for Vietnam’s enterprises to approach the fast growing market which is willing to spend more on environmentally-friendly products.
He noted that many Vietnam’s enterprises can exploit the ‘green consumption’ trend to develop their business. Biodegradable bags and bamboo-made straws are being exported and used domestically.
The market of environmentally-friendly products is thriving. If Vietnam can increase the production capacity of these products, they will get big benefits.
Meanwhile, Ho Duc Lam, chair of the Vietnam Plastics Association, warned that many enterprises will have to shut down if they cannot draw up new business solutions. Not only the EU, but other countries are also going to impose strict regulations on plastic products.
“From 2021, all the plastic exports to Europe must be recyclable products. So, Vietnam’s enterprises have three years to prepare for new production strategies,” Lam said.
The EU mostly consumes Chinese products. As such, the ban, in short term, won’t have big impacts on Vietnamese enterprises.
However, he noted that there is a movement of shifting production from China to Vietnam, and the new EU decision is likely to have big impact on the domestic plastic industry in the next three years.
Realizing the growing green trend, Nguyen Le Trung, CEO of An Phat Plastics & Green Environment, began R&D for environmentally-friendly products, such as microbial bags and degradable cups, spoons and forks.
An Phat’s microbial bags are made entirely of corn starch, and biodegrade in the natural environment within six months to one year. It intends to export knives, spoons, forks and straws of this kind to Europe, about 100 million products per year.
Hung Hau Food has also begun developing starch-made straws. Its products are now available at Saigon Co-op.