Vietnam among top 5 countries importing plastic waste in 2018

Since May 2018, imports of scrap plastic have banned at major ports in Vietnam until further notice. In July 2018, the Vietnamese government announced it will no longer issue new license for plastic waste import.

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Vietnam among top 5 countries importing plastic waste in 2018

Imports of plastic scraps coming into Vietnam (in tons), showing the top 10 export partners. Source: Greenpeace/GAIA.

Vietnam was named among the five countries importing the largest amounts of plastic waste in 2018, raking third with 7.6% of total global imports, according to a joint research between Greenpeace East Asia and the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA).

Topping of the table was Malaysia with 15.7% of total plastic waste import, followed by Thailand with 8.1%, Vietnam with 7.6%, Hong Kong (China) with 6.8% and the US with 6.1%.

At the beginning of 2018, China stopped accepting the world’s waste including plastic, paper and textile. Previously, Chinese recyclers had accepted recycled plastic waste from the world’s top exporters – the US, the UK, Germany, and Japan to feed the country’s demand for materials.

All of that practically stopped in 2018, and waste started to flood into Southeast Asia with Malaysia, Vietnam and Thailand being the primary importing countries of plastic waste from mid-2017 to mid-2018, stated the report.

Vietnam among top 5 countries importing plastic waste in 2018
Imports of plastic waste by Malaysia, Vietnam and Thailand vs. India, Taiwan, South Korea, Turkey and Indonesia between January 2016 and November 2018 (in tons per month). Source: Greenpeace/GAIA.

According to the report, Japan remained at the top spot among countries exporting plastic waste to Vietnam in 2018, followed by the US, Germany, the UK and South Korea. Notably, Thailand, one of the main destinations itself, was also among countries exporting plastic waste to Vietnam.

In Vietnam, plastic waste imports spiked to 100,000 tons per month in mid-2017 then dropped to 7,500 tons per month in mid-2018. In late-2018, the imports slightly to 16,000 tons per month.

Since May 2018, imports of scrap plastic have banned at major ports in Vietnam until further notice. In July 2018, the Vietnamese government announced it will no longer issue new license for plastic waste import.

The new import restriction has contributed to the drop in Vietnam’s plastic waste import, stated the report. Hanoitimes

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