Improving Binh Dinh waste wokers’ livelihoods through a club initiative

Binh Dinh, January 28, 2024 – A new scrap collection club has officially launched in Quy Nhon city, bringing together around 200 informal waste buyers and pickers from 10 districts with a primary goal of enhancing the livelihoods of these workers.

The club will facilitate connections among the workers and aggregators/junk shops throughout Quy Nhon city, and the local Material Recovery Facilities (MRF) placed at Long My landfill. This system collecting and sorting plastic scrap that will then be preprocessed and sold to recycling plants will be anticipated to transform Quy Nhon’s plastic waste into secondary materials for new products. The club will also link the workers with sources of solid waste such as hotels, restaurants, supermarkets, residential areas, and households, especially through the local at-source waste separation programme, and occasionally, waste-to-gift events, and communications activities. The initiative is expected to bring about an increase in the amount of plastic waste collected and decrease in orphan plastics that end up in the environment.

Binh Dinh launches Scrap Collection Club. Photo: ICISE Center

Dr. Tran Thanh Son, ICISE Deputy Director, explains: “This initiative recognizes the essential contributions of informal waste workers, particularly waste buyers and pickers in Quy Nhon City. We aim to improve their livelihoods while promoting the sorting of recyclables to support a circular economy in the city.”

The club will also provide training on occupational safety and environmental protection, raising awareness and preventing health hazards. Additionally, a handbook will help members track scrap collection data, aiding local authorities in waste management policy development. The club anticipates collecting 250-500 kg of plastic scrap daily. The launch featured some side activities, like exchanging garbage for gifts and educational activities about informal labor. Additionally, ten students from Binh Dinh’s fine art class participated in a scrap collection-themed painting activity.

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Students participate in painting activities focused on scrap collection workers. Photo: ICISE Center

“The club promotes the essential role of informal workers in waste management and contributes to building a circular economy,” said Ms. Ha Thi Thanh Huong, Deputy Director of Binh Dinh Department of Natural Resources and Environment. “It helps reduce landfill waste, protect the environment, and change societal perceptions of these workers and their careers. I hope the club’s initiatives will be successful and replicated in other areas.”

The club is an initiative of the International Centre for Interdisciplinary Science and Education (ICISE), in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) within the framework of the project “Scaling up Integrated Waste Management Models through Empowering the Informal Sector and Promoting the Circular Economy” and the National Action Partnership Programme on Plastics in Vietnam (NPAP). The initiative also benefits from the collaboration and backing of the Quy Nhon City People’s Committee.