The partnership not only helps Unilever increase post-consumer recycled plastic (PCR) and reduce its use of virgin plastic during production, but also inspires and opens up more development opportunities for the recycling industry in Vietnam.
According to the Market Study for Vietnam: Plastics Circularity Opportunities and Barriers conducted by the International Finance Corporation and the World Bank, as much as 2.62 million tonnes of plastics are disposed of per year, resulting in the loss of 75 per cent of the material value – equivalent to $2.2-2.9 billion per year.
The recycling industry in Vietnam has a diverse but undeveloped source of recyclable materials, and the plastic recycling rate is only 33 per cent. This is mainly due to the demand for PCR not being high enough because using virgin plastic is more convenient and cost-efficient.
The quality of PCR plastic is always a challenge for corporations, such as Unilever, that apply international standards to their products. This is also a bottleneck in driving the circular economy for plastic in Vietnam.
The partnership between Unilever Vietnam and Duy Tan Recycling is a step forward in promoting the use of recycled plastic in Unilever’s packaging production, thereby increasing recycling activities and creating a cycle for plastic waste in the nation.
|Unilever Vietnam to partner with Duy Tan Recycling over a period of five years |
The programme will establish a system of plastic waste segregation at source and collection, then leverage Duy Tan Recycling's expertise and technology of Bottles to Bottles to produce recycled plastic particles for Unilever Vietnam's packaging production.
With a strong commitment, a close-knit collaboration, and a firm action plan, the 5-year partnership between Unilever Vietnam and Duy Tan Plastic Recycling aims to collect and recycle 30,000 tonnes of plastic waste by 2027.
|The plastic circularity model driven by Unilever Vietnam and Duy Tan Recycling |
Along with the goal of building a plastic cycle to protect the environment, this partnership also contributes to implementing social commitments by improving working conditions, hygiene, and health, while also providing training to increase the awareness, capability, livelihoods, and social safety of waste collectors at more than 100 collection stations in the value chain of Duy Tan Recycling.
Additionally, Unilever Vietnam and Duy Tan Plastic Recycling also conduct communication and education programmes to raise people’s awareness about environmental protection through the habit of sorting waste at source. This will help create a stronger and wider impact across the country.
Unilever Vietnam has now achieved 82 per cent plastic reduction, 73 per cent packaging recyclability, and collected and processed more than 20,000 tonnes of plastic waste. The bottle packaging of many brands has also been utilising PCR plastic. Typically, bottles of Sunlight, Lux, and Love Beauty and Planet products use 100 per cent PCR plastic. Several other firms have also applied PCR in their packaging, such as Dove, Lifebuoy, Sunsilk, Comfort, and OMO.
|Sunlight packaging is made from 100 per cent PCR |
Duy Tan Recycling's plant that was opened in 2021 is currently operating according to international standards on quality, environment, and health and safety, and has a production capacity of up to 100,000 tonnes per year.
The cooperation will create great motivation to help complete the circular economy model for plastic waste management that Unilever is aiming for. The partnership will also help to inspire other like-minded businesses to increase their use of PCR plastic in their packaging.
Duy Tan Recycling has asked for the government’s instruction and support to open up more development opportunities for the recycling industry, which will contribute to spreading the circular economy model across the country.
Nguyen Thi Bich Van, chairwoman of Unilever Vietnam said, “If the world does not act now, by 2050, there will be more waste in the ocean than fish. This is a scenario that no one wants to witness. No company is keen to do business among a sea of waste or in a damaged environment. To stop this on a national and global scale, Unilever alone is not enough. It requires the guidance and companionship of the government, central and local authorities, associations, and non-governmental organisations to connect communities and businesses.”
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