WasteAid recognises innovation in Vietnam’s circular economy

Vietnam’s circular economy entrepreneurs have been recognised in an event hosted by WasteAid.

WasteAid Vietnam‘Making the Circular Economy a Reality in Ho Chi Minh’ marks the completion of WasteAid’s two-year Circular Economy Network programme. The programme aims to promote local solutions by supporting innovators and business start-ups that work towards a ‘zero waste city’.

Winners of WasteAid’s Zero Waste Cities Challenge

  • Veca, a Ho Chi Minh start-up planning to ‘digitalise the scrap industry’, was one of the two winners of the Challenge. According to WasteAid, the seed funding awarded to Veca is being used to expand the service to 12 districts and increase the collection of recycled material to 40 tonnes.

The start-up has also been able to expand its service to include the collection of Tetrapak packaging. The project has demonstrated that through the use of its app, waste collectors are able to significantly increase their income.

  • A pilot programme to create a zero waste campus, created at the University of Economics Ho Chi Minh City (UEH), was the second winner of the Zero Waste Cities Challenge. Dr. Tu Anh Trinh, Head of Institute of Smart City and Management at UEH, revealed the universities plan to inspire and empower students to create their own solutions and to ‘take ownership of the programme’. Its goal is to educate and reach the ultimate target of zero waste, through communications and awareness campaigns among staff and students. The university also plans to building a 'Zero Waste Station' to recover recyclable material on campus. A “living lab” will also offer students the opportunity to explore materials commonly found in waste.

A panel event chaired by Zoë Lenkiewicz, Senior Technical Advisor and Head of Communications at WasteAid, heard from multiple industry professionals who discussed how to advance a circular economy in Ho Chi Minh and wider society.

It was highlighted that the Government can support and incentivise small to medium enterprises (SMEs) working for a circular economy, through introducing relevant laws and fiscal measures.

The panel also addressed the importance of different stakeholders in the value chain connecting and working together. For instance, designing packaging so that recycling is easier and more cost-efficient.

Various stakeholders attended the event, including representatives from the USAID-IPSC (USAID-Improving Private Sector Competitiveness), Bitis, IKEA, Coca Cola, ProVietnam, Pizza 4P’s and programme sponsor Huhtamaki.

Ms. Trang Ha, Head of Human Resources at Huhtamaki Vietnam, said: "We had a great chance to meet a lot of people, especially young entrepreneurs who have new and innovative ideas to support the circular economy and minimise the level of plastic waste in Vietnam.

“It was also a good opportunity for people to learn much more of who we are at Huhtamaki, through sharing and networking. Thank you very much WasteAid for connecting us together."

Zoë Lenkiewicz, from WasteAid, added: “Building a circular economy in Ho Chi Minh will preserve resources and protect the natural environment that we all depend upon.

The ingenuity of circular economy entrepreneurs and innovators in Ho Chi Minh is certainly worth celebrating! They are leading an important change in how we manage resources, and creating valuable employment opportunities in the process.”