Plastic businesses need a roadmap to convert to green product production

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Although there are still many challenges, converting green product production is considered an inevitable trend for plastic businesses, especially when the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) policy which bans and restricts the production and consumption of single-use plastic products comes into practice. 

“Green production will be an inevitable trend for plastic businesses”, Mr. Nguyen Le Thang Long – Chairman of Vietnam Eco-friendly Products Manufacture Association (EPMA) said at the International Bioplastic Conference 2023 which was held on September 6 – 7, 2023, in Seoul, Korea. 

The workshop was jointly organized by the City of Seoul and the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy with the participation of more than 500 experts, including experts from the United States, European Union (EU), Japan, Thailand, and Vietnam. The workshop focused on discussing issues related to bioplastics policies and markets around the world, environmental problems caused by plastics, and the prospects of biodegradable plastics to help reduce plastic pollution, and achieve the goal of building a green, sustainable economy. 

Mr. Nguyen Le Thang Long, representing Vietnamese businesses, presented at the International Bioplastics Conference 2023

Presenting at the conference with the topic “Vietnam’s bioplastic market”, Mr. Long updated the latest policies related to the roadmap to limit the production and import of single-use plastic products and packaging; non-biodegradable plastics; and products and goods containing microplastics. Among them, the most prominent is the new regulations of the Law on Environmental Protection – Decree 08/2022/ND-CP. Accordingly, from January 1, 2026, Vietnam will not produce and import non-biodegradable plastic bags with dimensions less than 50 cm x 50 cm and a film thickness of less than 50 μm, except in cases where production for export or production and import to package products and goods for sale to the market. Organizations and individuals that produce and import single-use plastic products and non-biodegradable plastic packaging will have to take responsibility for recycling and handling according to regulations. The establishment of the National EPR Council in 2023 is one of the strategic actions from the Government to enhance manufacturers’ recycling responsibility to reduce plastic pollution and support this law into practice. 

Mr. Nguyen Le Thang Long (3rd from right) with the President of the National Bioplastics Association at the International Bioplastics Conference 2023

Also according to this decree, after December 31, 2030, businesses are required to stop producing and importing single-use plastic products (except products with Vietnam eco-label certification), and non-biodegradable plastic packaging (including plastic bags that are difficult to biodegrade, foam plastic boxes for packaging and storing food) and products and goods containing microplastics, except in cases of production for export and cases of production and imports non-biodegradable plastic to package products and goods for sale to the market. 

With the above regulations, according to Mr. Long, manufacturing enterprises need to develop a roadmap to convert to green product production or have a plan to prepare for recycling costs according to the law. One of the potential solutions for single-use product manufacturers mentioned by Mr. Long is to shift their structure to produce biodegradable plastic products. This is an environmentally friendly product line, capable of decomposing into water, CO2, and humus in just 6 – 12 months. In Vietnam, one of the leading manufacturers producing this product line is An Phat Holdings Group. This product line has helped An Phat Holdings achieve many successes such as reaching the top of the best sellers on Amazon USA with revenue and products sold in 2023 growing 27 times compared to 2022. Besides, environmentally friendly products of An Phat Holdings have also successfully conquered many demanding markets such as England, Japan, Korea, the United States, and Canada… 

Biodegradable plastic products are the solution to reduce plastic pollution

Although switching to producing environmentally friendly products is considered an inevitable trend, businesses are still facing many challenges such as lack of capital and technology. Furthermore, due to the lack of specific criteria for green products, many products are cheap and not environmentally friendly but are still labeled green and compete directly with truly environmentally friendly products, which are inherently environmentally friendly with 1.5 – 2 higher prices. 

“It is predicted that by 2030, the market demand for bioplastic products in Vietnam will be about 80,000 tons. Therefore, this is a very potential market for Vietnamese businesses to exploit. However, to be able to produce quality products that meet global standards, Vietnamese businesses need to carefully prepare capital and technology to be able to convert to producing new product lines which are environmentally friendly, and high technology content,” Mr. Long shared. 

As Chairman of EPMA, Mr. Long said that EPMA will promote connections with more manufacturers to develop new product lines, promote domestic green consumption trends, and contribute to reducing plastic pollution in Vietnam.  

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