Firms pushed to switch to sustainable packaging

By Phuong Anh - Jan 05, 2023 | 09:45 AM GMT+7

TheLEADERAs more consumers become aware of environment safety and the concept of circular economy becoming more influential in Vietnam, enterprises need to switch to packaging that meets sustainability requirements and is easily recyclable to stay competitive.

According to Nguyen Thi Xuan Yen, a sustainable development researcher and practitioner, customer are expressing their concern about sustainability through changes in product choices. She informed that at a conference organized in Ho Chi Minh City on December 22.

A study done by Global Scan pointed out that consumers in the Asia-Pacific region expect to buy more from socially and environmentally responsible companies post-pandemic, she said.

One of the top three ways that companies/brands can help facilitate consumers’ healthy and sustainable lifestyles is ensuring that all packaging is recyclable, reusable or contains recycled content.

Nguyen Nhu Khue, CEO of Lotus Chemical Technology, emphasized that designing packaging specifically to be recycled becomes a vital part of the packaging process, as concept of the circular economy becoming more mainstream.

Reducing the weight and volume of packaging to the minimum necessary while ensuring product safety and hygiene is a trend in e-commerce and shipping.

In Vietnam, the packaging industry is the first subject to enforce the mandatory collection and recycling responsibility under Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) provided in Article 54 of the amended Environmental Protection Law, which came into effect on 1 January 2022.

In details, Article 54 states responsibility of producers and importers for recycling. Accordingly, producers and importers of recyclable products and packages must recycle them according to the mandatory recycling rate and specifications, except for products and packages exported/temporarily imported or produced/imported for research, learning or testing purposes.

Related to the financial contribution and use of financial assistance in recycling of products and packages, they are determined according to the quantity or unit of products/packages.

Previously, according to Phan Tuan Hung, Director of the MONRE’s Legal Affairs Department, from a broader perspective, EPR is an opportunity to share the burden of the parties. It is a chance for businesses to show their responsibility to the community and the environment.

EPR is also the foundation for forming a modern recycling industry that puts waste sources into environmentally friendly recycling facilities and helps Vietnam solve the problem of ocean waste.

Fausto Tazzi, vice chairman of the Packaging Recycling Organisation Vietnam (PRO Vietnam), added that the EPR mechanism has been applied not only in developed countries, but also in developing ones.

In fact, most large enterprises want to develop sustainably, and are ready for resources to build sustainable and environmentally friendly production.

The strict enforcement of regulations relating to EPR does not only show the responsibility of enterprises for the environment but also helps boost their competitiveness.