Recycled plastic imports will be allowed until 31 December 2024 following a directive from the Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.
Directive No. 33/CT-TTg mostly concerns domestic reuse, recycling, treatment and minimisation of plastic.
But one part of it also looks at imports of plastic scrap for recycling.
In this section, it said that it will only be allowed to “import plastic scrap as raw materials for the production of products and goods” and that this does not apply to commercially recycled plastic resins, which appear to be permitted. However, those that wish to import plastic scrap for other purposes will need Vietnamese Government approval for projects that meet its investment policy.
The directive added: “Investment and operating production facilities are allowed to import scrap plastic for the production of commercial recycled plastic pellets by the end of 31 December 2024.”
However, it isn’t clear whether at this point it will be reviewed for extension or banned from import.
What is clear though is that import licenses will not be issued to import plastic scrap in order to process, handle and resell the material.
There will also be a review of Decision 73/2014 QD-TTg from December 2014 so that it only allows for the import of clean plastic scrap that has value for processing, so that disposable material is not imported. As part of this, there will be an investigation whether imported plastic scrap that does not meet Vietnamese Environmental Requirements can be returned to the point of origin.
This decision is the list of 36 permitted recycled material commodity codes that were allowed for import and was expected to be reduced to 24.
In 2019, Vietnam had proposed a roadmap to ban imports of mixed paper and certain plastic scrap, but it isn’t clear what the new directive means for the recycled plastic grades mentioned in this roadmap. There also isn’t a mention of mixed paper in the new directive.