Announcement Ceremony of the Alliance of Retailers to Reduce Plastic Bags

Currently, plastic pollution is considered as one of the most serious and urgent environmental problems in Viet Nam and globally. Plastic waste such as nylon bags, plastic cups, straws after only a few minutes of use will be thrown into the environment and take 400 to 1,000 years to decompose. Every year, around the world, up to 300 million tons of plastic waste is discharged into the environment.

Plastic waste has a direct impact on the quality of life, human health and other living species. The most dangerous thing about plastic waste is that it is very difficult to decompose. Even when buried in the soil, they still exist for hundreds, even thousands of years, changing the physical properties of the soil, causing soil erosion, making the soil unable to retain water and nutrients, preventing prevent oxygen from passing through the soil, affecting the growth of plants, hindering the growth and development of animals and plants… Therefore, if there are no timely solutions, plastic waste will affect cause serious harm to the environment as well as harm to human health.

According to the survey data in March 2021 conducted by ISPONRE, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and partners, the number of single-use plastic bags in supermarkets is about 104,000 bags/day on average, equivalent to with 38 million plastic bags/year. In which, 46/48 supermarkets surveyed are providing free plastic bags. On average, each supermarket consumes an average of 1,454 plastic bags/day, ranging from 70 to 2,800 bags.

Since the outbreak of the Covid-19 epidemic in early 2020, the number of plastic bags used by retailers to serve the needs of online shopping tends to increase. This poses a problem about the distribution and consumption of plastic bags by retailers. Therefore, it is necessary to support retailers to find solutions to reduce plastic bag consumption.

Recently, on July 22, 2021, the Prime Minister issued Decision No. 1316/QD-TTg approving the Project to strengthen the management of plastic waste in Viet Nam, in which, by 2025, 100% of plastic bags and environmentally friendly packaging are used in shopping centers, supermarkets for living purposes to replace non-biodegradable plastic bags; ensure the collection, reuse, recycling and treatment of 85% of the generated plastic waste.

Stemming from the aim of reducing the consumption of single-use plastic products at retailers, ISPONRE in collaboration with the Hanoi Department of Industry and Trade called on businesses to sign a commitment to join the Alliance of retailers to reduce plastic bags. This is an activity within the framework of the project “Rethinking plastic – Circular economy solutions for marine waste” funded by the European Union and the German Government; The French Agency for International Technical Cooperation (Expertise France) deployed in Viet Nam.

Speaking at the Announcement Ceremony of the Alliance of Retailers to reduce plastic bags, Ms. Tran Thi Phuong Lan, Acting Director of the Hanoi Department of Industry and Trade said: “The Alliance of Retailers to reduce single-use plastic bags established will contribute to achieving the goal of reducing single-use plastic bags in consumption and retail, contributing to achieving the goals of sustainable production and consumption.” In addition, she also suggested relevant units to coordinate and propose supporting mechanisms and policies for enterprises producing and trading in biodegradable plastic bags and packaging products. Environmental friendliness; promote the development of infrastructure, collection and recycling services of hard-to-decompose single-use plastic and hard-to-decompose plastic bags.

On the side of ISPONRE, Mr. Nguyen Trung Thang, Deputy Director affirmed: “The Institute will continue to work with the Hanoi Department of Industry and Trade and retailers to implement the Alliance’s activities. At the same time, the Institute will continue to coordinate with partners to reduce plastic waste including Viet Nam Packaging Recycling Alliance (PRO Viet Nam), WWF-Viet Nam, the Dutch Embassy, The Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH), National Plastic Action Partnership in Viet Nam (NPAP), Viet Nam Business for Environment (VB4E), Asia Foundation (TAF) promote communication activities to change the behavior of the community”.

Representative of Expertise France, Ms. Fanny Quertamp, Senior Advisor in Viet Nam emphasized: “The establishment of the Alliance within the framework of the pilot project “The Initiative to establish a Union of Supermarkets to reduce plastic bag consumption” disposable in Viet Nam” is a meaningful milestone and hopes to attract the participation of many retailers. Hopefully this model will continue to be replicated in Viet Nam.”

As of December 2021, there are 16 retailers registered to join the Alliance, including: Lock and Lock Hanoi Limited Liability Company, Branch of One Member Limited Liability Company (MTV) Association Dong Hung Development Corporation in Hanoi, Long Binh Plaza One Member Co., Ltd., Duc Thanh General Service and Trading Joint Stock Company, Lotte Viet Nam Trade Center Joint Stock Company (JSC), Branch of General Corporation Garment 10 – M10Mart Supermarket JSC, UNIQLO Viet Nam Co., Ltd., Big C Thang Long Supermarket Service and International Trade Co., Ltd., The Body Shop Viet Nam Co., Ltd., MM Mega Market Viet Nam Co., Ltd. in Hanoi City, Saigon Co.op Hanoi Company Limited, TH True Milk Group, Stylish Distribution Co., Ltd., BRG Retail Co., Ltd., DECATHLON Viet Nam Co., Ltd., and Co., Ltd. Aeon Viet Nam.

As part of the Alliance’s activities, retailers are committed to working together to reduce plastic bags and single-use plastic products, including: Replacing non-biodegradable plastic bags supply for customers with eco-friendly bags; Implement promotional programs to encourage customers to reduce and move towards not using single-use plastic bags; Carry out communication activities to raise consumer awareness about reducing the use of plastic bags and generating plastic waste; Implement “Non-Plastic Bag Day” on a day of the month; Encourage suppliers to use environmentally friendly packaging, recycled paper instead of plastic bags to package products supplied to the retail chain.

The creation of the Plastic Bag Reduction Retailers Alliance is the first initiative to bring together retailers and help retailers find a common voice in reducing single-use plastic. Practical, specific and timely activities and solutions are expected to be a source of encouragement and encouragement to the retailer community, demonstrating the positive spirit of striving for the environment and sustainable development in Viet Nam.

Ngoc Anh – ISPONRE