Zero waste programme in Vietnam – from movement to habit

Zero waste programme is taking shape in Vietnam to adopt a more eco-friendly lifestyle. Let’s find out how the green initiative has changed people’s thinking and habit.

Zero waste programme in Vietnam – from movement to habit
Members of the Vietnam Zero Waste Alliance help local people develop the waste zero model. (Photo: VZWA)

Zero waste has been defined in various ways by different people. It can be understood as a comprehensive waste management approach that prioritizes waste reduction and material recovery, with the ultimate aim of creating a circular economy and shrinking waste disposal to zero. 

The following comments shed light on how the zero waste concept has been received in Vietnam.

“I know what zero waste is and I’ve also known the 3R Model (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) for a long time because I had opportunities to study in developed countries.  But right from the beginning, I think it’s very difficult to realize in Vietnam,” said 39-year-old Dao Hoang Anh, who works for TikTok Vietnam.

“I have the idea of zero waste. It’s been more than a year that I’ve been truly interested in the movement, since I began to work for Genesis school, whose development direction is toward green and sustainable education in line with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals,” said Nguyen Thi Chuyen, an employee of Hanoi-based Genesis School and a member of the Green Team, a Genesis green sustainable and community initiative.

“I used to think zero waste was simply a good act to make the environment cleaner and more beautiful,” said Le Gia Huy, a member of the Secretariat of the Students’ Association of the University of Economics Ho Chi Minh City.   

Zero waste developments in Vietnam

Zero waste programme in Vietnam – from movement to habit
Understanding waste turns out to understand ourselves. (Photo: Green Hub)

Zero waste was first known in Vietnam in 2017 through the support of the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) and Da Nang city’s Center for Consultancy on Sustainable Development (C4SD).

But it wasn’t until two years later that the movement truly took off in Vietnam, involving also the Centre for Marinelife Conservation and Community Development, GreenHub, the Cham Islands Marine Protected Area, and RMIT University.

Quach Thi Xuan, former Director of C4SD and now coordinator of the Vietnam Zero Waste Alliance (VZWA), said the establishment of the movement and the alliance in Vietnam has been based on four strategies - building zero waste models, policy advocacy, corporate campaigning, and capacity and network building.

“The concept of zero waste has been spreading in Vietnam. GreenHub, a Vietnamese social organization that supports green development, has included the zero waste concept in its key activities,” said Xuan.

”The ancient town of Hoi An has added building zero waste models to its environmental protection plan. Our fanpage now has 3,000 followers. All these things indicate that zero waste is slowly becoming accepted by individuals, agencies, organizations, and local administrations.”

Zero waste achievements 

Zero waste programme in Vietnam – from movement to habit
Local residents in Tan Thanh village in Hoi An ancient town begin waste sorting at source by introducing a Material Recovery Facility. (Photo: Hoang Vy/ VNS)

The zero waste model now focuses mainly on Hoi An and Tuy Hoa city in the central province of Phu Yen, instead of original four communities, said Xuan.

“After two years, we decided to re-set the development direction for the model and deploy investment in Hoi An and Phu Yen, because right from the beginning we planned to turn Hoi An into the first zero waste city in Vietnam. In addition, we want to spend all our resources and re-assess which places have the most potential and the leaders with the greatest of initiative in applying the model,” she explained.

Xuan said Hoi An, a UNESCO-recognized ancient town in Vietnam’s central region, has even outlined a plan for environment protection and made a commitment to the plan.

Meanwhile, the leaders of Tuy Hoa city in Phu Yen province, according to Xuan, phoned Green Hub to request help for a zero waste model.

“Local authorities in Hoi An or Tuy Hoa are open-minded and recognize that the zero waste model the right direction for a sustainable future,” Xuan added.

Under various sponsor programs, Hoi An has built a Materials Recovery Facility (MRF), an indispensable tool in zero waste model, on Cham Island. On the mainland, there are two MRFs.

 

By 2022 Hoi An will have 7 MRFs under the sponsorship of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), GreenHub, UNESCO, and Inhabitat. 

Difficulties ahead

Zero waste programme in Vietnam – from movement to habit
Quach Thi Xuan, VZWA coordinator, introduces the zero waster model in Phu Yen province, December, 2020. (Photo: tapchimoitruong.vn)

Raising public awareness is probably the biggest problem facing the zero waste model in Vietnam.

“Clearing the thinking about waste and its management is the biggest difficulty. Convincing people is difficult but persuading relevant agencies and officials is sometimes much more difficult. In addition, Vietnam has very few environmental organizations specializing in waste treatment,” confided Quach Thi Xuan.

“People often think about technical difficulties and whether or not we have enough money or resources or infrastructure to implement such a model. But from my own experience, I find that the biggest difficulty is to change people's behaviour and habits. But that doesn’t mean it's an impossible mission. What we need is time and a well-prepared roadmap,” said Nguyen Trung Hieu, who is in charge of student affairs at the Genesis School.

“We believe that the root of the issue remains the dissemination of knowledge and changing the perceptions, thinking and actions of students, teachers, and officials in the university. What makes our green initiative for sustainable living at a university different is the use of technology in education and user-centric communication methods,” said Le thi Hanh An, Director of the Zero Waste Campus project of the University of Economics Ho Chi Minh City 

Between 2006 and 2009, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) helped Vietnam carry out a 3R (Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle) initiative in Hanoi toward the Development of a Sound Material-Cycle Society under which, wastes are sorted at the source. But to date, the sorting is a kind of formalism.

Xuan opined that the reason for the failure of previous models was the lack of infrastructure relevant to waste sorting and proper investment in bio fertilizer production and recycling facilities.

“Our pilot model focusing on technical support can be considered a grassroots-level approach. But if there are no policies or regulations of state management agencies, it will be hard for such models to spread. That’s why policy advocacy is one of our main missions. It’s a higher level approach,” noted Xuan.

Another reason for previous failure was inconsistent understanding of the regulations, from central to local level, on waste sorting, Xuan said, adding that burning garbage is the last option in the waste hierarchy in the zero waste model.

But she said everything began to change when plastic waste pollution became a global concern and Vietnam was named the world’s fourth biggest dumper of plastic waste into the sea. Since then almost all organizations have included a plastic waste component in their activities. 

Solutions

Zero waste programme in Vietnam – from movement to habit
An organic compost pit created by the students of Phu Yen Ethnic Minority Boarding High School with the support of GreenHub. (Photo: GreenHub)

Now that the zero waste model has gradually been developed in Vietnam, the question is how to get people nationwide to accept it and make it part of their daily habit, Xuan said.

“My policy recommendation is that as soon as we have specific regulations on waste sorting, we should prepare our infrastructure for separate collection and treatment of different types of waste, from which to create capital sources. An important step is to promulgate policies that decentralize waste management. That means involving the private sector in collecting fees and treating all the waste in a small residential area, but in line with the regulations set for waste sorting,” she suggested.  

In addition to communications, schools, according to Xuan, should make sure that children stay aware of the importance of the model.

“In the long run, community commitment is the key. The involvement of people in raising everybody’s awareness and understanding of waste sorting and reduction, the responsibility of companies and state policies will help us deal with these environmental issues. But another important factor is properly re-allocating and optimizing investment,” she concluded.

Source: VOV5 

‘Green’ school promotes waste value

‘Green’ school promotes waste value

Primary school of Tran Dai Nghia in Da Nang began a recycling kitchen system to reduce 60 per cent of waste released each month, saving VND1 million (US$43) in garbage treatment fees, while producing 100kg of nutritional compost each month.

Zero waste systems could create more than 18,000 jobs in HCM City

Zero waste systems could create more than 18,000 jobs in HCM City

Ho Chi Minh City could create more than 18,000 new jobs if the city were to recover 80 percent of recyclable and organic material in its waste stream, a new study has revealed.

 
 

Other News

.
Mekong Delta expands environmentally-friendly shrimp-rice farms
Mekong Delta expands environmentally-friendly shrimp-rice farms
SCI-TECH & ENVIRONMENTicon  14/12/2021 

The Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta is expanding its shrimp – rice farming areas as the cultivation model is efficient and sustainable, adapts to climate change, and is environmentally friendly.

Google Doodle celebrates Vietnam's "pho"
Google Doodle celebrates Vietnam's "pho"
SCI-TECH & ENVIRONMENTicon  13/12/2021 

The digital world honors one of the most outstanding Vietnamese dishes - "Pho" or hot noodle soup with beef.

Winners of Make in Vietnam Digital Technology Product 2021 Awards announced
Winners of Make in Vietnam Digital Technology Product 2021 Awards announced
SCI-TECH & ENVIRONMENTicon  13/12/2021 

Four products received the gold prizes of Make in Vietnam Digital Product Awards 2021 at a ceremony held on December 11.

Digital transformation to be the focus of socio-economic development
Digital transformation to be the focus of socio-economic development
SCI-TECH & ENVIRONMENTicon  12/12/2021 

Digital transformation will be the focus to effectively control the pandemic and restore socio-economic development over the next two years, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh has confirmed.

Strong commitment needed for sustainable development of planet: Minister
Strong commitment needed for sustainable development of planet: Minister
SCI-TECH & ENVIRONMENTicon  12/12/2021 

Vietnam’s commitment at COP26 was appreciated by leaders of countries and big corporations around the world.

Stricter measures needed to protect wild animals in Vietnam
Stricter measures needed to protect wild animals in Vietnam
SCI-TECH & ENVIRONMENTicon  12/12/2021 

Illegal trafficking of wild animals remains a problem in Vietnam despite the efforts of the Government and wildlife preservation organisations. 

EURO 2021 schedule, materials for online learning top internet searches in Vietnam in 2021
EURO 2021 schedule, materials for online learning top internet searches in Vietnam in 2021
SCI-TECH & ENVIRONMENTicon  11/12/2021 

Google has announced the Top 10 trending searches in Vietnam 2021 which show the great impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

3rd Vietnamese wins Noam Chomsky Award
3rd Vietnamese wins Noam Chomsky Award
SCI-TECH & ENVIRONMENTicon  11/12/2021 

Tran Le Huu Nghia - a Vietnamese origin doctor - is the third Vietnamese to receive the A. Noam Chomsky Global Connection Award.

Vietnam transfers 5 million tons of CO2 to get US$52 million for forest protection
Vietnam transfers 5 million tons of CO2 to get US$52 million for forest protection
SCI-TECH & ENVIRONMENTicon  11/12/2021 

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has signed an agreement with EMERGENT on the transfer of emission reductions.

Vietnam encounters challenges launching Mobile Money service nationwide
Vietnam encounters challenges launching Mobile Money service nationwide
SCI-TECH & ENVIRONMENTicon  11/12/2021 

The introduction of the Mobile Money service in Vietnam raises a question of its possible attractiveness, as people can easily use the Internet for their financial activities.

Vietnam’s tech businesses prosper amid pandemic
Vietnam’s tech businesses prosper amid pandemic
SCI-TECH & ENVIRONMENTicon  10/12/2021 

Since the Covid-19 pandemic began, technology businesses have shown their potential by maintaining an impressive growth momentum.

Huge potential for digital economic development in Vietnam: report
Huge potential for digital economic development in Vietnam: report
SCI-TECH & ENVIRONMENTicon  10/12/2021 

Bain & Company, in association with Tech for Good Institute – TFGI, has released a report on the platform economy in Southeast Asia, focusing on the Vietnamese market.

Digital transformation to be main driver for Vietnam’s economic recovery, development
Digital transformation to be main driver for Vietnam’s economic recovery, development
SCI-TECH & ENVIRONMENTicon  09/12/2021 

The National Forum for Development of Digital Technology Businesses 2021 will discuss solutions that will enable digital transformation to be the driving force for economic recovery and development.

Digital transformation: one touch buys a bus ticket
Digital transformation: one touch buys a bus ticket
FEATUREicon  09/12/2021 

Digitizing public transport has led to practical benefits for consumers.

Former well-known hacker to publish autobiography
Former well-known hacker to publish autobiography
SCI-TECH & ENVIRONMENTicon  09/12/2021 

Ngo Minh Hieu, or Hieupc, who once operated a massive international hacking and identity theft scheme, has revealed that he will publish a book about his life, especially the time in jail in the US.

CNN broadcast highlights sneakers made from coffee grounds
CNN broadcast highlights sneakers made from coffee grounds
SCI-TECH & ENVIRONMENTicon  08/12/2021 

Vietnamese sneakers made from discarded coffee grounds and plastic bottles have been introduced by CNN in their “Innovate” programme.

Vietnam accounts for nearly half of brute-force attacks versus RDP
Vietnam accounts for nearly half of brute-force attacks versus RDP
SCI-TECH & ENVIRONMENTicon  08/12/2021 

Kaspersky detected more than 47 million remote desktop protocol (RDP) threats in Vietnam in the first half of 2021, accounting for nearly half of all cases in Southeast Asia.

Over 1,000 organizations in Vietnam capable of supporting startups
Over 1,000 organizations in Vietnam capable of supporting startups
SCI-TECH & ENVIRONMENTicon  08/12/2021 

Vietnam currently has over 1,000 organizations capable of supporting startups, including technology startups, with 202 coworking zones, 79 business incubators and 38 business promotion organizations.

Malware threatens businesses in digital age
Malware threatens businesses in digital age
FEATUREicon  13/12/2021 

The digital economy has more opportunity for cyberattacks, especially from ransomware. The more businesses and users use technology online, the more opportunities hackers have to expand their attacks.

Vietnam's rise in digital transformation
Vietnam's rise in digital transformation
FEATUREicon  12/12/2021 

Digital transformation in the economy is expected to contribute significantly to the policy of improving efficiency in Vietnam.

 
 
 
Leave your comment on an article

OR QUICK LOGIN