31.7 C
Ho Chi Minh City
Thursday, June 13, 2024

Waste segregation at home: from awareness to practical action

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Despite deriving from a small habit or action of each individual, waste segregation at source (SAS) – if properly implemented – will play a fundamental part in the broader, collective effort of bringing plastic waste back to serve living and production activities instead of causing environmental pollution.

According to the publicly announced National Plastic Waste Report 2022 by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment in April 2023, only 0.9 million tons out of 2.9 million tons of the plastic waste volume discharged was segregated for recycling. This proves that SAS – a key solution to boost productivity and quality of plastic waste recycling – has not reached the expected potential yet.

Building from daily habits to consistent waste collection system

Having been disseminated to 238/322 wards and communes in HCMC, equivalent to 74% of the city’s total area, waste segregation is no longer something new to the community. “I have always been active in sorting and segregating household waste into three types as instructed for a long time. However, we face certain difficulties when having to separately store each of them until they are collected,” said Ms. Le Thi Kim Thoa, a resident of Phu Thuan Ward, District 7.

Moreover, many share reasons behind their non-adoption, including limited available spaces in the households or small amounts of waste being discharged. Others claim that despite their SAS efforts, waste already segregated would eventually be dumped together with other wastes, which demotivates them to keep up with segregating waste at home.

Transforming plastic waste to recycled material
This current situation has posed challenges in both establishing and improving the collection/recycling system together with converting people’s awareness into action and maintaining it as a daily habit.

In particular, it requires joint efforts of many stakeholders to bring plastic back to serve living and production activities instead of causing environmental pollution: from local residents and communities, governmental organizations and NGOs to waste collection organizations, informal waste collectors, recyclers, manufacturers and distributors.

Through the event “Plastic segregation for Recycling” taking place in District 7, the “Plastic waste SAS, collection and recycling to drive Circular Economy model” partnership between Unilever Vietnam and District 7 People’s Committee was officially launched, aiming towards strengthening plastic waste management, which includes reduction, reuse and recycling.

With this partnership, the communication and education activities to raise public awareness and subsequent segregation will be further promoted via conferences, national television and news channels as well as distributed across offline channels within the district. Exchanging plastic waste for gifts and placing compartment waste sorting bins made of recycled plastic in public areas will be implemented to encourage SAS among the communities.

Additionally, the system of collecting and recycling plastic waste established by Unilever Vietnam and partners including collection agencies and Duy Tan Plastic Recycling will be gradually deployed in the district to guarantee that collected plastic waste will be processed into PCR plastic beads that are used as input materials in the packaging manufacturing for products of Unilever and other businesses.

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