Current situation and key challenges on the use of single-use plastic in Hanoi

In Waste Management 121 (2021) 422-431.
Volume (Issue): 121
Peer-reviewed Article

Marine plastic litter, mostly comprising single-use plastics, has been recognised as one of the world’s
most urgent environmental concerns, and Vietnam has been ranked as one of the top five countries polluting
the ocean with plastic waste. This paper examines Hanoi as a case study on single-use plastic by
households, investigating the daily generation of single-use plastic waste through a survey, assessing
existing policy gaps through a policy review, and providing recommendations on improving management
along the supply chain in Vietnam. At almost 27 times a week on average, plastic shopping bags were
found to be the most prevalent single-use plastic used by households, followed by wrap/film, straws, coffee
cups with plastic lids, cutlery, takeout containers, food packaging, party cups, bottles for water and
beverages, and other items. Plastic shopping bags and food packaging are used more often in rural areas
than in urban areas. These bags also have a high rate (68.65%) of temporary reuse as kitchen bin liners, a
habit that may be difficult to change over the short term. Apart from some components of plastic bottles
and packaging that are sold for recycling, most single-use plastic waste is disposed in landfills. Policies
are in place to address plastic issues, such as a tax on plastic bags and source separation, but implementation
is inconsistent. A behaviour-based combination of top-town and bottom-up approaches along the
entire supply chain is recommended to improve existing policy gaps in Vietnam.

Trung Thang Nguyen
Yujiro Ishimura