Packaging is made at low cost to contain, provide information and support the product’s transportation. After fulfilling their purpose, they become useless and create negative impacts on our environment and health. However, we can change things and add more value to single-use packaging by doing some simple daily tasks. We – PRO Vietnam and Annam Gourmet, will introduce you to the negative impacts of plastic waste and what we can do to increase value for them.

Single-use packaging can bring infinite value if we sort and recycle them properly

How does packaging waste affect us? 

Impacts on the environment

Mostly single-use packaging is made from materials that are hard to decompose in the natural environment. It takes around 450 years for PET bottles to break down naturally. While plastic bags need 1000 years and Used Beverage Cartons need at least 5 years to go through this process (Source: Averda). As The Ellen MacArthur Foundation (2016), by weight, plastics will be more than the fish in the ocean if nothing has been done, by 2050.

Impacts on human health and other species

Millions of animals are killed by plastic waste every year, from birds, marine organisms to land-based animals (Source: National Geographic). Plastic isn’t biodegradable, it breaks down into smaller pieces – microplastics and nano plastics, remain in the environment and go into our bodies in various ways. They contain petrochemicals extracted from oil and natural gas, which are toxic to our bodies, potentially causing cancer and DNA cell damage. (Source: Weforum)

Human are consuming microplastic and nano plastics every day

Impacts on the economy 

The negative impacts to the environment from plastic waste lead to bad effects on countries’ economies. Plastic waste in the ocean directly affects the revenue of fishermen and tourism. Countries, organizations and companies spend huge amounts of expense for cleaning up beaches, coastlines and disposing of waste. And it is hard to quantify the welfare costs including human health impacts and loss of ecosystem service. (Source: MEAM)

Creating value for single-use packaging by sorting properly. 

Instead of mixing all the garbage and leaving them in landfills, we can recognize and sort them properly.

Packaging wastes that can get recycled

Do you know that there are many single-use packaging we see everyday that can be recycled? To implement the circular economy, at PRO Vietnam, we are collecting and reprocessing these 3 kinds of packaging wastes:

  • PET bottles (water bottles, soft drinks, etc.): made from Polyethylene terephthalate, are light, see-through. They have a recycle signal with the number 1 /PET at the bottom.
  • Laminate (confectioneries and snack packaging): packaging is made of multiple raw material layers (such as paper, aluminium, and cellophane).
  • Used Beverage Cartons (Cartons of milk and juice): packaging is made of many layers and has 2 main layers: paper and aluminum. 

3 kinds of packaging wastes we are collecting and recycling at Pro Vietnam are PET bottles, Laminate and UBC (Used Beverage Carton)

How to sort single-use packaging 

Waste sorting will be fast and efficient if we can do it manually at the household, companies or schools. Waste-separation guidelines are fairly different based on each local or organizational standard. However, these packaging waste-sorting simple tips may speed your process:

  • Do it regularly as your daily habit to maintain a clean house and save time. 
  • Wash and let packaging dry when sorting. For used beverage cartons, you should wash through the inside, then make them flat or open and let them dry.

How to sort single-use packaging 

You can find a guideline Learn About 3Rs for waste sorting on the PRO Vietnam website. It is a simple guidebook with colorful images, which is helpful to educate the children about the 3Rs and “green activities” to become global citizens. 

Post-consumer packaging wastes should be sorted and recycled. If not, we are wasting an opportunity to have an infinite resource for other industries. Let’s join hands with PRO Vietnam and Annam Gourmet to sort and recycle packaging waste. With us, you are joining the circular economy and building a green, clean and beautiful Vietnam.