The Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee has said “no” to single use plastic items and issued a plan last week to participate in the nationwide anti-plastic movement from 2019 to 2021. The move by HCMC authorities follows the launch of a nationwide campaign in June by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, endorsed by Vietnam’s Prime Minister, Nguyen Xuan Phuc, to cut back on Vietnam’s plastic waste creation.
Starting this month, HCMC government agencies and public sector organizations are required to develop specific plans to reduce single-use plastic in meetings, conferences and other official activities. Notably, single-use bottled water is also included and will be banned from government offices. Instead of using single-use water, agencies are encouraged to use reusable water containers larger than 20 liters, or boiled tap water.
The HCMC government will also ban the use of single-use plastic cups and straws from all daily government activities, including items that are normally used in public schools, organizations and medical facilities. City authorities have also requested that public schools teach students about the impact of plastic waste and the benefits of waste sorting and recycling.
From 2020, the HCMC Department of Finance will remove as many plastic items as possible from the official budgets for municipal agencies.
Related to the private sector companies that use large amounts of plastic, such as bars, restaurants, hotels, convenience stores and supermarkets, HCMC authorities have set a goal to have 100% of these establishments switch from plastic to biodegradable packaging.
City authorities acknowledge that getting retailers to switch from plastic to paper and biodegradable materials may be a long and slow proposition, but they believe that it's a worthy goal that is necessary to protect HCMC’s future. In order to realize their private-sector goals, authorities say that they intend to have discussions with the largest food & beverage chains, such as Highlands Coffee, KFC, Lotteria and McDonalds to take a lead in switching from plastic to biodegradable items as soon as they can find suppliers.