Vietnam introduces law banning recycling imports except for manufacturing

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Vietnam recycling inspections
Vietnam customs officials inspecting containers of recycled materials

The Prime Minister of Vietnam has issued a directive that bans imports of material for recycling unless it is going directly into manufacturing processes.

Imports of material for processing or trading in Vietnam are now banned.

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Those companies that are importing recycled materials into Vietnam will need to get a certificate of eligibility from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment to prove that imports are raw materials for production.

No new import licenses will be issued, except to trusted companies.

Vietnam is also developing technical specifications on the materials that will be allowed for import and these are expected to be completed soon. It is expected that mixed paper and mixed plastic imports will be completely banned.

Shipping companies will be responsible for ensuring the material that enters into Vietnam is legal. This will include notifying the port before the ship docks of the full details of the goods owner including company name, address, tax code and import certificate number. The description of the goods must also match what is in the containers and meet Vietnamese specification.

It will now also be illegal to use Vietnam as a transit destination to ship materials out of the country into other destinations.

While the measures are likely to add to the bureaucracy of paper mills groups, it shouldn’t affect their ability to import high quality recycled fibre to be turned into new end products.

However, the plastic sector will be hit hard by the measures, with plastic recyclers typically providing a product to manufacturers rather than the importers being manufacturers.

Most of these measures had been previously proposed, but have now been made law.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc signed the directive this week, with the law being implemented immediately.

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