VNBusinessNews.com – Hundreds of millions of dollars are being spent every year to import used paper as a material for domestic paper production, despite ample domestic supplies.
Dr Vu Ngoc Bao, secretary general of the Vietnam Paper and Pulp Association (VPA), who released the information, said it is a huge waste to spend so much moneyon importing items that can easily be found locally.
Vietnam requires some 1.8 million tonnes of paper every year, while domestic production can provide 1.13 million tonnes only, and the other 700,000 tonnes must be fed by imports. Vietnam imported 900 million dollars worth of paper and materials in the first ten months of the year.
70 percent of the materials to make the 1.13 million tonnes of paper come from waste paper, while the other 30 percent came from pulp. 50 percent of the scrap paper comes from domestic sources, while the other 50 percent are imports. The problem does not lie in the fact that Vietnam does not have scrap paper, but that only a limited volume of paper is collected.
In China, the ratio of used paper recovered is 34 percent, while ratios are even higher in other countries at up to 50-60 percent of total paper used. These are the result of countries putting in place policies on collecting and recycling scrap paper and considering it as a recyclable resource (paper can be recycled 6-9 times)
Meanwhile, Vietnam only re-uses 24-25 percent of used paper. If the ratio can be doubled, Vietnam will not have to spend hundreds million dollars to import scrap paper.
In general, it needs 2.2-4.4 tonnes of timber to make one tonne of pulp, while it takes only 1.4 million tonnes of scrap paper to make one tonne of pulp.
“We are poor, but we waste money,” Bao said.
According to Bao, other countries in the region are considering used paper as a resource and are giving careful consideration to the collection and recycling of used paper as an industry. Meanwhile, Vietnam still does not apply policies to encourage the recycling of the resources in order to minimize the environment pollution and save foreign currencies.
Now, the Ministry of Industry and Trade has requested the VPA joins forces with the Industry Policy Institute to outline a policy to submit to the Prime Minister. However, it can take three to four years to set up a policy and nake it happen..
The Environment Protection Law touches on the issue of scrap paper, but it just aims to punish those who violate environmental protection regulations. Meanwhile, a legal framework on recycling paper needs to include a number of aspects from investment to tax policies.
Scrap paper is being collected mainly by scrap metal dealers, as Vietnam still does not have companies specializing in collecting and trading scrap paper like those in Japan, China and Thailand.
Enterprises are now importing scrap paper from the US, Japan and New Zealand. They prefer importing scrap paper than using domestic sources because quality of imports is better. Meanwhile, current regulations do not encourage them to use domestic sources