Vietnam has few biodegradable-plastic producers

 In early and late April, PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc released two documents noting that plastic waste is a ‘burning issue’ and calling all people to join forces to settle the problem.

Vietnam is witnessing a ‘green consumer’ boom.

Meanwhile, plastics manufacturers are shifting to environmentally friendly materials.

Vietnam has few biodegradable-plastic producers

The question is what materials should be used to replace PE and PP, which are the major materials of plastic bags. The answer is bioplastics. Bioplastics are created from the combination of scientist-certified biodegradable polymers, such as PLA, PBS and PBAT, and naturally sourced green materials such as corn flour, plant starch, collagen and cellulose fiber.

Bioplastics are 100 percent compostable thanks to the effects of bacteria which turn it into natural harmless substances. Bioplastics made of corn flour can be used as fertilizer after disintegration.

The pioneer in Vietnam in making ‘green products’ is An Phat Bioplastics. The company produces AnEco bags, gloves, knives, spoons and forks from corn flour and other organic starch.

An Phat Bioplastics is one of five Asian companies which are members of the European Bioplastics Association.

All of An Phat’s products are certified ‘compostable’. It was the first producer in Vietnam to be granted TUV Vincotte OK Home Compost, the strictest standard for environment friendliness.

AnEco’s products are available in the domestic market, including at large supermarket chains such as Vinmart, Lotte, Big C, Aeon Mall and L’Space.

AnEco’s products are available in the domestic market, including at large supermarket chains such as Vinmart, Lotte, Big C, Aeon Mall and L’Space.

Nguyen Trung Viet, head of the solid waste management division of the HCMC Department of Natural Resources and the Environment, noted that self-decomposing plastic bags can harm the environment. “My viewpoint is that it’d be better to keep large plastic pieces, because it would be easier to treat them, rather than use chemicals to decompose plastic products into tiny pieces,” he said.

 

“The smaller plastic pieces are, the faster they can be spread in the environment and then it is more difficult to treat them,” he said.

Viet recommended that Vietnamese enterprises make ‘biodegradable bags’, not ‘self-decomposing bags’.

To make bioplastics, enterprises need high technologies, modern machines and powerful financial capability for R&D.

There are about 10 companies in the world which can make compostable products. Only products made of bioplastics are 100 percent degradable.

The products differ from decomposing bags which disintegrate into small pieces which drift in the sea and exist in the air, harming the environment.

An Phat plans to build an environmentally-friendly packaging plant in the US, expected to become operational in Q1 2020.

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