More and more people are choosing eco-friendly products; however, the Vietnamese market’s wide range of items labeled biodegradable leaves consumers lost in a maze when it comes to identifying truly green ones.
The absence of regulations on green product labeling to help differentiate biodegradable products from non-biodegradable ones is confusing customers.
Many products labeled ‘biodegradable,’ actually eco-unfriendly
As her daily consumption of plastic bags is high, Huong, who lives in Ha Dong District, Hanoi, has switched to biodegradable bags over the past months.
Upon researching the market, Huong seemed to get lost in a maze of various types and models with their packaging printed with words such as ‘degradable bag,’ ‘biodegradable bag,’ or ‘biodegradable gloves.’
Believing the advertisements, she selects any product that is marketed as ‘degradable.’
Yet once she read the information on how to distinguish between biodegradable products and partially-decomposed plastic products (OXO degradable plastic), Huong was startled by her misunderstanding that all products with ‘degradable’ or ‘decomposable’ tags are not all eco-friendly.
“I was shocked that many products labeled ‘degradable’ are still made from plastic that breaks down into small plastic particles and exists in the environment,” said Huong.
“If so, it is like I am using plastic bags, paying more but still not protecting the environment.
“I have no idea how to recognize truly biodegradable products due to no information or instructions on the packaging.”
As a supervising manager at a foreign company, Linh who resides in Tan Binh District, Ho Chi Minh City, said that her firm manufactures products labeled ‘green energy,’ so the company encourages its staff not to consume single-use plastic goods or plastic bags.
|Biodegradable products are able to replace traditional ones due to their environmental friendliness and consumer health protection.|
Therefore, most of the office furniture is replaced with reusable and eco-friendly packing and items.
With strict requirements, she carefully studied the products in the local market to opt for authentic ones.
She gained an insight into the ‘degradable’-labeled products. Not all are green and eco-friendly.
“They seem to be the same, but those made from biodegradable plastic are capable of decomposing biologically, meaning that under the influence of microorganisms, the products will decompose into CO2, H2O or biomass which is truly renewable and eco-friendly,” Linh stated.
Vague advertisements and absence of labels
To unlock an environmental conundrum, researchers invented biodegradable plastic to tackle the degradability of traditional plastic, which takes up to hundreds or thousands of years to decompose.
Meanwhile, it takes biodegradable plastic made of renewable materials only a few months or years to turn into CO2, H2O, or humus, which helps to reduce environmental pollution and cut CO2 emissions when burned by 25-30 percent.
However, Prof. Dr. Dang Kim Chi, president of the Science and Technology Council under the Vietnam Association for the Conservation of Nature and Environment, said that OXO degradable plastic and biodegradable plastic products have yet to be clearly distinguished.
Many products tagged ‘biodegradable’ make consumers mistakenly believe that OXO degradable plastic is also an eco-friendly green product. But in essence, it still decomposes and exists in the environment, resulting in negative influence on human health.
Hence, Chi said that manufacturers themselves must be responsible for the quality of the products labeled ‘biodegradable’ in order to accurately inform consumers.
Besides, there should be more transparent mechanisms and regulations to distinguish and help consumers straightforwardly recognize the eco-friendly green products with real degradability.
Speaking of the potential for biodegradable plastic development, Dr. Nguyen Le Thang Long, chairman of the Vietnam Eco-Friendly Product Manufacturers Association, said that plastic made from regenerative input materials and biodegradable products that replace traditional plastic products will help minimize the dependence on the irreplaceable source of materials.
In addition, this is an appropriate solution for Vietnam, since infrastructure for plastic collection and classification is not available.
These products, however, also have a weakness. As their decomposition time is short at about 6-12 months, their shelf life will not be as long as conventional products.
If the products are out of date, they may be easily torn or brittle.
Meanwhile, their production cost is high, some 2-3 times higher than other products that are tagged ‘degradable.’
As a result, there are not many enterprises producing them. Accordingly, it is not commonplace now.
The leader of An Phat Holdings, a well-known company in biodegradable product production, said that because residents are increasingly interested in the green consumption trend, evident rules and regulations are needed to help protect consumers and support companies.
An Phat Holdings is currently known as one of the few Vietnamese producers of biodegradable products meeting international standards.
This company’s product, named AnEco, is widely sold in Vietnam and 20 countries around the world, while making a big splash on the Amazon e-commerce platform in the United States.
Breakfast @ Tien Phong News – November 27
Check out the news you should not miss today:
— Vietnamese National Assembly (NA) Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue will pay official visits to Australia and New Zealand from November 30 to December 6, the Vietnam News Agency quoted the NA Foreign Relations Committee as saying on Saturday.
— Ho Chi Minh City will build three wastewater collection and treatment stations with a total capacity of 365,000 cubic meters a day.
— The Binh Thuan Province Border Guard Command on Saturday said they were investigating a case in which a fishing boat with eight fishermen on board was rammed by a transport ship while they were fishing in the waters of the south-central city of Phan Thiet the night before.
— Vietnam’s seafood exports have fully recovered after the COVID-19 pandemic, with export turnover reaching US$10 billion by the end of November and being forecast to top $11 billion by the end of this year, general secretary of the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers Truong Dinh Hoe reported at a seminar in Can Tho City on Saturday.
— More than 90 percent of local businesses temporarily stopped operating, over 14,000 employees of tourism had to temporarily stop working, were shifted to part-time work or even laid off in 2021-22 in the central province of Quang Nam, the province’s tourism department reported at a seminar on COVID-19 response and recovery held by UNESCO and Quang Nam Tourism Association on Saturday.
— Famous Singaporean designer Frederick Lee has introduced his latest collection titled ‘Take Me Back To Lost Memories And Untold Tale’ at the Vietnam International Fashion Week from November 24 to 27 in Hanoi.
— Two heritage pieces of Vietnam on Friday were recognized as part of documentary heritage in Asia and the Pacific at the 9th general meeting of the Memory of the World Committee for Asia and the Pacific in South Korea, the Vietnamese Agency reported on the same day.
14 children hospitalized after drinking milk at school in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta
Some 14 elementary students in My Tho City of Tien Giang Province, Vietnam’s Mekong Delta region, were hospitalized for food poisoning treatment after drinking a milk product at their school on Friday.
They were admitted to Tien Giang General Hospital, which confirmed the admission on the night of the same day.
The children suffered from nausea and stomachache.
Their health basically resumed stable condition after treatment and all were released at 7:00 pm on Friday.
They are students of Nguyen Trai Elementary School in My Tho, the capital city of Tien Giang.
Phan Minh Tan, principal of the school, said the children drank a milk product provided by a company in Ho Chi Minh City at around 2:00 pm on Friday and 14 of them started feeling sick shortly after.
Health authorities in Tien Giang have tested the samples of the dairy product to investigate the cause of the case.
Ho Chi Minh City woman sentenced to death for murder, abuse of fiancé’s daughter
The Ho Chi Minh City People’s Court on Friday sentenced a woman to death for beating her fiancé’s eight-year-old daughter to death last year.
The death penalty was handed down to Nguyen Vo Quynh Trang, 27, for ‘murder,’ along with a three-year imprisonment for ‘torturing others.’
The judge panel also gave Nguyen Kim Trung Thai, the murdered child’s 37-year-old father, three years in prison for ‘torturing others’ and an additional five years for ‘concealing crimes.’
The criminal behavior of the defendants is particularly dangerous for society as they committed crimes against a child, according to the city People’s Procuracy.
It is thus necessary to remove them from social life permanently.
Trang and Thai had lived together for over a year, from the time Thai divorced his ex-wife and was given custody of the daughter in 2020.
Trang had frequently beaten the eight-year-old girl and forced her to do chores, investigation found.
When rods broke due to repeated beatings, she switched to wooden implements.
On December 22 last year, Trang beat the girl so badly that she fainted.
The girl was taken to hospital, but was declared dead on arrival.
Her wounds and bruises prompted doctors to contact police.
Thai then deleted all the camera data of his apartment to conceal the crime.
The case triggered indignation among people nationwide.
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