On November 22nd, 2019, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE) organized the workshop on extended producer responsibility (ERP) in solid waste management in Hà Nội. The workshop on EPR in solid waste management provided a holistic view on creating a more comprehensive and effective EPR legal system in Việt Nam.
EPR is most defined as “an environmental policy approach in which a producer’s responsibility for a product is extended to the post-consumer stage of the product’s life cycle”. The application of EPR legislation not only to shifts the financial burdens on public budgets and taxpayers to producers but also helps improve recycling and reduce landfilling. Therefore, EPR has been widely adopted in most OECD countries since the 1980s as one of the key policies to respond to the challenges of solid waste growing in both volume and complexity.
In Việt Nam, the EPR concept has been first introduced in the Law on Environmental Protection 2005, with several supplements and adjustments in 2015. That was followed by the Prime Minister’s directive on the collection and recycling of solid waste in 2013, then revised and supplemented in 2015. However, the current EPR schemes are only modestly effective due to the lack of comprehensive targets and application areas, effective financial tools, or detailed guidance in implementation. In this context, the need for a more comprehensive EPR system as part of the National Action Plan is a priority issue for Việt Nam.
Head of the Legal Affairs Department of the MONRE Phan Tuấn Hùng shared at the workshop: “Building a comprehensive EPR legislation is an integral part for the National Action Plan of Việt Nam in tackling solid waste, especially plastic waste. Hence, we give recognition and appreciation for open dialogues with multiple stakeholders in public policy development and consider this as data for improving the EPR legislation to assure comprehensiveness, shared financial responsibility, and long-term financial sustainability. In my personal view, I believe that building and implementing an effective EPR system will be a critical factor in advancing the circular economy in Việt Nam”.
The workshop on extended producer responsibility in solid waste management
According to the proposal on EPR legislation enhancement to the MONRE, Packaging Recycling Organization Vietnam (PRO Vietnam) affirmed the important role of producers, brand owners, distributors, retailers, import-exporters in managing and recycling post-consumer packaging waste to minimize the impacts on the environment. In fact, it would be unrealistic to try and “copy-paste” an EPR approach from one country to another. Each country faces unique challenges and must develop its own approach to meet its specific environmental, social, and economic conditions.
At the workshop, Vice Chairman of PRO Vietnam Fausto Tazzi stated: "PRO Vietnam with the participation of 12 leading brand owners, packaging producers, and distributors have strong commitments to sustainable packaging. In general, an EPR system aimed at recycling post-consumer packaging waste is to enable the successful growth of recycling while maintaining a level playing field for all packaging materials. We treasure the opportunities for open discussions and opinion-sharing to support the development of EPR in waste management and packaging recycling growth for a greener Việt Nam”.
Discussed topics at the workshop include ERP models and their pros and cons in improving solid waste management, as well as successful EPR models in the world (Korea, Taiwan and South Africa), understanding the context of Việt Nam, and recommendations for EPR development in Việt Nam.
The workshop was organized under the framework of the MoU signed by the MONRE and PRO Vietnam in last September to promote activities in reducing, segregating, collecting, and recycling waste and fostering the development of the circular economy in Vietnam. This workshop is one of the various programs organized by the MONRE to prepare the proposal to adjust and supplement the Law on Environmental Protection which is expected to be submitted by the Government to the 9th National Assembly in 2020.
Đức Anh (MONRE source)
(Source: Vietnam Environment Administration Magazine, English Edition III - 2019)