Plastic self-dissolving bags struggling to find a way into the market

Published: 14/05/2011 05:00



Because of the lack of common standards for products, plastic self-dissolving bags, a kind of environment-friendly production, still cannot be marketed.

No common standards for environment-friendly products

Do Thuy Hang, Deputy Director of Saigon Co-op, said that the retail chain has decided to put plastic self-dissolving bags into use at 21 Co-op marts in HCM City since May 2011. The bags will replace normal plastics bags, while they will not be counted on the prices of the products available at the supermarkets.

However, Hang related that the decision has only been made two years after Saigon Co-op learned about environment-friendly products and contacted nearly 10 companies which introduced themselves as making environment-friendly bags. The problem was that Saigon Co-op really did not know what “real environment-friendly bags” are.

Hang said Saigon Co-op chooses self-dissolving plastic bags based on four criteria, including the biological self-dissolving feature. Also, bag manufacturers have to satisfy the technical inquiries raised by Saigon Co-op.  The retailer had also tested the toughness, durability and the self-destruction level of the bags.

She went on to say that Saigon Co-op is still learning more about the current supplier and seeking more potential partners.

There are now three kinds of self-dissolving bags, including cloth bags, paper bags and plastic bags. All these kinds of bags need to have common required standards. Nguyen Long Chau, Director of Kim Nhat Company, which specializes in making non-woven cloth bags which will decompose after a certain time. He said that his company makes the products based on the company’s experiments.

He also said that the company has spent two years seeking clients and prove that the products are really friendly to the environment. Currently, his company is only making products to the orders placed by institutions, while the company does not retail the products on the market.

Analysts have pointed out that the lack of common standards for environment-friendly products has caused difficulties to both users and manufacturers. Users do not know which products they should use, while manufacturers wonder which criteria their products should have.

Currently, manufacturers simply make products based on their own experiments and standards. Le Loc, Director of Phuc Le Gia Company, said that it took the company many years to research and make products which were then certified by a technical institute in Sweden as having the function of “biological dissolving”. However, the company can sell 20-30 tons of products a month only, while the factory has the designed capacity of 100 tons a month.

“As there are no common standards, when we seek to purchase additives to make dissolving bags, we are not sure if the additives have the feature or not. Therefore, it takes us a long time to prove the self-dissolving feature of products,” said Pham Huu Nguyen, a senior executive of Nam Thai Son Company.

Government agencies urged to set up standards

It is expected that Vietnam will impose a high tax on normal plastic bags early  next year, which will be equal to 170 percent of the sale prices, in an effort to encourage the use of self-dissolving bags. Le Van Khoa, Director of the HCM City Waste Recycling Fund has warned that by that time, counterfeit self-dissolving bags would flood the market.

When the tax is applied, normal plastic bags will have the sale price of 50,000 dong per kilo on average, which is higher than the current price of self-dissolving bags. It may happen that thousands of workshops would introduce their products as self-dissolving products to evade tax and make profits. In this case, customers will suffer, while the policy on taxing to protect the environment will not be fulfilled.

Source: SGTT

Provide by Vietnam Travel

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