Bioplastics – a solution to plastic pollution?

9:30 - 11:30 ICT 23/05/2024 Online/Offline English - Vietnamese Address: UN Building

Plastic Talks x CE Hub Webinars: BIOPLASTICS – A SOLUTION TO PLASTIC POLLUTION?

Date: Thursday, 23 May 2024

Time: 9:30 – 11:30 ICT (Online), 9:00 – 16:00 ICT (Offline)

Organisers: NPAP & CE Hub

Registration link for online: https://undp.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_2YHcFXeETU-RUzxL49MAng

Background:

The global production of plastics is projected to triple by 2060 under a business-as-usual scenario which poses a significant threat to the environment, with plastic pollution incurring social and environmental costs estimated between USD 300 billion and USD 1.5 trillion per year and contributing substantially to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, with a projected doubling to 4.3 billion tones by 2060.

In response, the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) unanimously adopted a resolution in March 2022 calling for the negotiation of a Global Plastics Treaty, in which Viet Nam is also participating, to combat plastic pollution. Negotiations under the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) began with an ambitious goal: to conclude with a signed agreement by the end of 2024, following five negotiation rounds. Up to most recent session, the fourth session, the negotiations include the exploration of alternative materials to virgin plastics as one strategy to reduce plastic pollution, especially caused by single-use plastics (SUPs).

Popularly, the development and implementation of alternative plastics, such as biodegradable, compostable, plant-based, and compressed-fiber utensils, are seen as a significant opportunity to address plastic pollution without requiring sacrifices from consumers. However, widespread adoption of bioplastics faces intricate technological challenges. While these materials offer a greener alternative, their production and processing involve complex chemistry and engineering. Researchers are grappling with issues of scalability, cost-effectiveness, and compatibility with existing manufacturing infrastructure. Public misconceptions also pose a hurdle. They often assume that all bioplastics break down rapidly in any environment due to misunderstanding similar-but-very-different terms such as ‘bio-based‘, ‘biodegradable’ and ‘compostable’. Understanding the nuances of these terms is crucial for developing strategies that empower consumers to accurately identify and dispose of products made from these materials, optimizing the use of bioplastics as a sustainable measure to combat plastic pollution.

This session will aim to:

  • Differentiate between biodegradable, compostable, bio-based plastics, and bioplastics, and discuss the challenges associated with each type.
  • Explore the future and the role bioplastics can play in the global plastic economy
  • Examine the conditions necessary for bioplastics to fulfill their promise as a sustainable alternative.

Agenda

Time Activity Presenter(s)
09:00 – 09:30 Welcome offline participants & Networking
09:30 – 09:35 Opening remark Mr. Le Ngoc Tuan

NPAP’s Innovation and Financing TF chair

09:35 – 09:50 Presentation

Bioplastics, challenges and opportunities associated with bioplastic production

Assoc. Prof. Huynh Dai Phu

Director of Polymer Research Center, Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology, Vietnam National University Ho Chi Minh City

09:50 – 10:05 Presentation

Understanding the Compostable Packaging: Case study in the North America

Dr. Nguyen Le Thang Long

Chairman of Viet Nam Eco-friendly Products Manufacturer Association (EMPA)

10:05 – 10:20 Presentation

Regulatory gaps and recommendations to pave the way for bioplastics in Viet Nam

Dr. Trinh Thi Hoa

Co-founder, Buyo Plastics

10:20 – 11:20 Panel discussion followed by Q&A with industry experts

Panelists:

– Associate Prof. Huynh Dai Phu, VNU

– Dr. Trinh Thi Hoa, Buyo

– Dr. Nguyen Le Thang Long, EMPA

– Dr. Bui Xuan Thanh, Babio Green Technology Joint Stock Company-Babio J.S.C.

Moderated by

Ms. Dang Phuong Lien

Senior Advisor

Innovation Norway

11:20 – 11:30 Closing remark
Afternoon program (Exclusive to offline participants and by invitation only)
11:30 – 16:30 –          Lunch

–          Travel & visit An Phat Bioplastics JSC. plant in Hai Duong

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