Examining the Value Chain of Recyclable Waste in Hue City

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Examining the Value Chain of Recyclable Waste in Hue City

(C) Centre for Social Research and Development. This report was prepared by students at RMIT University and supported by The Australian Government as recipients of New Colombo Plan (NCP) funding. All views expressed in this report do not reflect those of RMIT University or of the Australian Government. All rights reserved. This material may not be reporduced, displayed, modified, or distributed without expressed, prior written permission of the copyright holder. For permission, contact info@csrd.vn.


Ms. Reem El-Naji Mr. Jamal Nobandi Centre for Social Research and Development Hue, Vietnam October, 2019


Table of Contents Figures Tables Acronyms Introduction 2. Context of Solid Waste Management in Hue 2.1 Composition of Municipal Solid Waste at Household Level 2.2 Flow of SWM in Hue City 3. Hue GrEEEn City Action Plan 4. Creating Economic Opportunities 5. Supporting Waste Collectors in Technical Inputs and Capacity 6. Purpose and Objectives 7. Approach to the Study 7.1 Stakeholder Identification and Interviews 7.2 Review of Existing Data and Relevant Literature 7.3 Data Collection 7.4 Qualitative Data 7.5 Quantitative Data 7.6 Selection of Geographical Area 7.7 Limitations of Methodology 7.8 Ethical Guidance 8. Households: Findings and Analysis 9. Schools: Findings and Analysis 9.1 Paper Recyclables 9.2 Plastic and Metal Recyclables

10. Waste Collectors: Findings and Analysis 11. Junk Shops: Findings and Analysis 12. Plastics Recyclers: Findings and Analysis 13. Cafes, Small Restaurants and Large Restaurants: Findings and Analysis 13.1 Recommendations 13.1.1 Link Waste Collectors into the Recyclable Stream 13.1.2 Support Green Initiatives 13.1.3 Certification that Validates Company Eco-friendliness 13.1.4 Education, Training and Investment 14. Strengthening the Informal Waste Management Sector: Recommendations

14.1 Capacity Building 14.2 Increasing Technical Input 14.3 Unionization 14.4 Healthcare Scheme 14.5 Education and Training Programs 15. Plastic Recyclable Materials Value Chain 16 Recycling Value Chain and MRFs 16.1 Entrepreneurship and businesses using recyclable goods 16.1.1 Creating sustainable markets for recycled products and recovered materials 16.1.2 Establishing incentives for engaging in source waste separation 17. Training on Value Chain and Marketability in Recyclables 18. Performance Monitoring 19. Conclusions 19.1 Sensitivity Analysis and Interpretation of Value Chain 20. Acknowledgements 21. References

Figures Figure 1: Household Waste Composition (CSRD, 2018) ....................................................................... 11 Figure 2: Flow of SWM in Hue City .......................................................................................................... 12 Figure 3: Hue GrEEEn City Action Plan Framework (Asia Development Bank, 2014) ........................ 13 Figure 4: Plastic Washing and Chipping Technology ............................................................................ 15 Figure 5: Waste Collector with Bicycle and Bags ................................................................................... 15 Figure 6: Urbanization Classification of Local Wards in Hue (City Population, 2018) ........................ 20 Figure 7: Location Map of Surveryed Junk Shops.................................................................................. 21 Figure 8: Household Waste Composition (CSRD 2018) ........................................................................ 25 Figure 9: Yearly Conversion Calculation ................................................................................................. 26 Figure 10: Example Calculation ............................................................................................................... 27 Figure 11: Waste Collectors' Reason for Selling to Junk Shop, by Percentage Reporting ................ 32 Figure 12: Suggestions for Improving Waste Collector Working Conditions ..................................... 32 Figure 13: Recycled Plastic Pellets are Converted into New Plastic bags in Processing facilities. .... 36 Figure 14: Scrap Recycled Plastic is Melted and Converted into New Products ................................ 37 Figure 15: Plastic Melting and Repurposing in a Plastic Processing Facility ....................................... 37 Figure 16: Cart Owning Waste Collector ................................................................................................ 43 Figure 17: Recyclable Value Chain Contributions from different Sectors ........................................... 51

Tables Table 1: Project Action Plan and Approach to Value Chain Analysis ................................................... 17 Table 2: Urbanization Class Table and Corresponding Population Boundaries ................................ 21 Table 3: Other reasons for Households Implementing Waste Separation at Home. ......................... 24 Table 4: Waste types and Average weights of Recyclable Waste per Household per week ............ 25 Table 5: Contribution per Student for the given period........................................................................ 27 Table 6: Value of Paper collected and sold ............................................................................................ 28 Table 7: Value of Plastic and Metal collected and sold ......................................................................... 29 Table 8: Average School Collection rates ............................................................................................... 30 Table 9: Projections of Provincial Recyclable Collection and Value of Recyclables at different Market rates ............................................................................................................................................................. 30 Table 10: Minimum, Mean and Maximum Market Prices for Paper and Plastic/Metal ....................... 30 Table 11: Demographic Data of Surveyed Waste Collectors ............................................................... 31 Table 12: Resource Accessibility Data ..................................................................................................... 31 Table 13: Relationship Data ...................................................................................................................... 31 Table 14: General Profile of Junk Shop Enterprises surveyed .............................................................. 34 Table 15: Junk Shop Material Composition ............................................................................................ 35 Table 16: Composition and Potential of different waste types ion the Food and Beverage Sector . 39 Table 17: Waste Values and Potential Recycling and Composting volumes ...................................... 39 Table 18: Waste Classification and Daily Contributions from Cafe’s, Small Restaurants and Large Restaurants. ................................................................................................................................................ 40 Table 19: Projections of Food Residue and Recyclable Potential. ....................................................... 40 Table 20: Buying price and Value addition of Recyclables ................................................................... 47

Acronyms ADB

Asian Development Bank


Centre for Social Research and Development


Door-to-Door Collection


Green City Action Plan


Huế Urban Environment and Public Works State Co. Ltd.


Materials Recovery Facility


Municipal Solid Waste


Nongovernmental Organization


Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology


Solid Waste Management


United States Agency for International Development


United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization


Waste Treatment Facility


1. Introduction Hue is a city in central Vietnam, 700 km south of Hanoi and 1100km north of Ho Chi Minh City. The city was once the seat of the Nguyen Dynasty emperors and the national capital from 1802 to 1945. The cultural significance is entrenched in the abundance of historic sites such as the 19th-century Đại Nội Citadel, palaces and shrines and the Forbidden Purple City (once the emperor’s home). Hue has been recognized as one of the World Heritage Sites by UNESCO and is a city rich in history and culture.

Hue is definitely on the top list of many travellers’ plans. However, the city is currently facing many environmental issues, one of which is plastic waste management. The city produces nearly 20 tons of plastic waste every day, with increasing amounts contributing to immense environmental degradation (CSRD, 2018).

The Province has prepared a Master Plan with a vision for 2050 to manage its solid waste management, but it will require coordinated and committed action across the whole community to achieve its vision. The GrEEEn City Action Plan administered by local authority, focuses on utilising a 3E lens comprising of Environment, Economy and Equity.

In 2018, the Centre for Social Research and Development (CSRD), a local NGO in Vietnam, conducted the project “City to River to Coast” with the overall objective of reducing and recycling plastic waste in and around Hue City. The project aims to promote the 3Rs practices (reduce, reuse, recycle) by introducing waste separation at selected local schools, through public involvement in the 5% reduction target, and through media publicity.

After almost a year, the project has implemented a range of awareness raising activities and set up 06 source separation systems at 06 schools. The primary results are significant. CSRD intends to understand how informal collection system of recyclable waste is working, and the current state of the value chain of recyclable waste in Hue city.

An integrated approach to sustainably develop the city is integral to change the practice of waste management and reach a 5% waste reduction target by 2050. In collaboration with CSRD, this project is guided by the directions in Thua Thien Hue Province’s Solid Waste Management Master Plan (2030) and Vision (2050). By aligning strongly with this Master Plan, we believe that we will achieve long term and sustainable benefits for Hue and the Province.

The following research project aims to develop a better understanding about the value chain of recyclable waste in Hue City so that CSRD can better plan its interventions for better waste collection systems, promote the role of vulnerable women in the informal sector, and reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills.

2. Context of Solid Waste Management in Hue The current state of plastic waste in Hue is concerning, with 286 tons generated and 275 tons of solid waste collected every day throughout the city (HEPCO, 2018). The linear processing of solid waste in the city is reflective of poor regulation and behavioural norms manifested within a rapidly urbanized city. The issues of plastic waste management arise from a lack of city-wide waste classification programs and recycling incentives.

Although small-scale initiatives and innovative projects have been implemented to address waste management issues, waste separation is scarce and presents substantial drawbacks within the system. A substantial increase in compostable organic waste is attributed to the closure of Tam Sinh facility in October 2018, resulting in waste being directly sent to landfill.

As aforementioned, recycling processes are limited within Hue City, and contribute 8~12% to the solid waste management (SWM) system (Lieu, Tuan and Hoa; 2014). At present, the municipal solid waste management system is comprised of a formal sector, involving privately owned waste processing facilities and landfill systems, coexisting alongside a traditional informal sector that remains prominent within the developing city. This deregulated system operates within an informal, yet organised, manner where waste is collected by independent parties, and sold to autonomously owned junk shops before being transported to other facilities.

2.1 Composition of Municipal Solid Waste at Household Level According to data retrieved from interviews with HEPCO representatives (2019), the composition of municipal solid waste (MSW) in Hue City is predominantly degradable organic waste (65%). In collaboration with further household waste data retrieved from surveys conducted by CSRD, household waste compositions are highlighted in Figure 1.

Figure 1: Household Waste Composition (CSRD, 2018)

2.2 Flow of SWM in Hue City The current SWM system and flow of materials is represented in Figure 2. The flow of MSW is separated into two waste streams; one handled by the formal sector, and the other by the informal sector. The role of the informal waste management sector is integral, as it is responsible for the processing of valuable recyclable material in Hue City. The formal sector is comprised of the utility company HEPCO, which is responsible for the collection, transportation and disposal of mixed waste. Due to inadequate source separation, recyclable materials remain within the mixed waste stream and are sent to landfill facilities. This results in a value loss within the SWM system, as recyclable waste is not dealt with efficiently. It is important to note that due to excessive waste generation rates in Hue City, the formal sector stopped operations that involved recyclable waste management. This is shown visually through the grey sub-sector in the diagram (Figure 2).

Figure 2: Flow of SWM in Hue City

3. Hue GrEEEn City Action Plan Hue City and Thua Thien Hue Province are focused on achieving the vision of sustainable urban development through an integrated planning approach. Implemented with the technical assistance of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), a time-bound plan identifiable as the GrEEEn City Action Plan (GCAP) outlines this vision with a focus on the 3E lens: Environment, Economy and Equity. Through the commitment of Provincial and City Government Departments, Hue’s Vision for a GrEEEn City aims to utilise the strengths of tourism based on ‘historic preservation’ to develop a city that is ‘green, competitive, and inclusive’ (Asian Development Bank, 2014).

This is demonstrated in Figure 3, which displays the Operational Framework created by the ADB, and highlights key ‘enablers’ that possess the ability to respond to challenges linked to rapid urbanization of the city.

Figure 3: Hue GrEEEn City Action Plan Framework (Asia Development Bank, 2014)

In order to assist in satisfying the objectives of Hue City and Thua Thien Provinces’ Action Plan, a value chain analysis of the plastic waste market is detailed throughout the following report. Through this, an insight into the potential optimisation of recyclable waste management is defined and aligns directly to Hue’s Vision of a GrEEEn City.

4. Creating Economic Opportunities The report aims to identify economic opportunities for the urban poor by promoting their role in SWM activities, particularly in the recyclable waste sector. Through a preliminary analysis of Hue City’s solid waste management sector, it is identified that limitations exist at social, cultural and economic levels.

The economic potential of recyclable materials is embedded in the service chain and material recovery processes. The informal sector plays a vital role in removing valuable material from the waste stream, where low-value plastics are utilised for economic gain. However, throughout Hue City there is a lack of recognition towards the value of recyclable material and the benefits of widespread resource recovery. The value of recyclable materials such as: paper, plastic, glass and metals, magnifies up the chain, where higher level collectors are given the opportunity to profit off the vulnerable working class (waste pickers and collectors).

The informal waste management sector is comprised of vulnerable communities, predominantly women of lower socioeconomic status, who work to support their families financially. These populations depend primarily on the revenue generated from independent operations, and the system thrives through capitalising off a free-market system. A social taboo centered around informal waste collection and picking services is prominent within Vietnamese society, and the importance of such roles fail to be acknowledged by formal sectors hindering individuals to maximise opportunities embedded in the industry.

Throughout the interviewing and consultation process, waste collectors and junk shop owners were engaged in honest and open dialogue about their perspective on the industry, their work, the responsibility of the government, and how best to create a safer, more profitable and more efficient work environment. User feedback and anecdotal observations enabled the development and articulation of key leverage points and recommendations. A plethora of suggestions and recommendations, highlighted and explored later in Section 14, identify potential markets for sustainable economic growth.

5. Supporting Waste Collectors in Technical Inputs and Capacity The access to appropriate small-scale technologies vary based on individual operation and depend on the success of each business. Larger junk shops have the resource capacity to operate plastic processing machinery (see Figure 4), which enable material recovery for further income generation.

Figure 4: Plastic Washing and Chipping Technology

The primary means of recyclable waste collection is using a bicycle, with baskets and bags said to store smaller material such as single-use plastic bottles and cans (see Figure 5). Currently, a small population of waste collectors own a cart that facilitate larger loads of collection. This technical input allows for a higher daily generated income, as resource flow is optimised. Opportunities for improving waste collector access to carts are highlighted throughout the onset of the report.

Figure 5: Waste Collector with Bicycle and Bags

In the current state, waste collectors and junk shop employees do not have access to health-care programs or insurance and are not protected under a system of workers’ rights or benefits. This places the low-income communities at further risk, particularly when handling hazardous or harmful waste materials or during the monsoon season. Protective and safety equipment in the form of: gloves, face masks, hats and raincoats are worn according to the discretion of each individual waste collector, and are not mandatory.

The report aims to address the structural gaps manifested within the informal sector. Humancentered technical inputs and capacity building recommendations that have the potential to improve self-sufficiency and managerial capacities of informal workers, are explored in Section 14 of the report.

6. Purpose and Objectives The overall purpose of this research project is to select and analyse the sub sector value chains within Hue City’s recyclable waste management sector. By doing so, the sub sector value chains should provide an understanding into potential revenue generation and loss throughout the recyclable waste management system. The task includes investigating the current context of plastic waste management services in Hue City, through conducting field research and meeting with key stakeholders. Upon completion of the task, the development of appropriate interventions and opportunities to maximise value within the chain are indicated. Expectations for the consultant, CSRD, were as follows:

● ● ●

● ●

Conduct research on the current state of the Solid Waste Sector Value Chain Collaborate with key stakeholders to identify current solid waste generation and management trends Identify Sub Sector Value Chains across Recyclable Waste Management Sectors that provide an opportunity to promote the role of vulnerable populations in the informal recyclable waste collection sector Produce a written report that highlights a clear link between methods of data collection and data analysis Offer a set of evidence-based recommendations to improve the role of the informal waste management sector

7. Approach to the Study The approach to the Value Chain analysis of the recyclable waste sector in Hue City consists of the following steps:

1. Conduct a literature review and prepare a Project Action Plan (see Table 1) and appropriate research questionnaires. 2. Undertake field surveys and collect data from identified key stakeholders. 3. Carry out data analysis and write the report. Table 1: Project Action Plan and Approach to Value Chain Analysis





Collating data from the available Literature, preparation of research Questionnaires and Project Action Plan


Stakeholder interviews, field surveys, and data collection


Data analysis and report writing

Reviewed the current state of SWM System in Hue, City of both informal and formal sectors, prepared by Thua Thien University and CSRD; read through data from Pilot Study Projects implemented by CSRD across 06 schools, analysed data from previously conducted household surveys, read through relevant literature available online. Conducted formal interviews with key stakeholders and collected semi-qualitative data, engaged in discussions with government departments (i.e., Department of Construction, Department of Natural Resources and Environment, Local Authorities; and NGO partners), undertook informal field surveys with junk shops and waste collectors using prepared instruments. Analysis of current data (qualitative and quantitative) retrieved from interviews and field surveys, comparison to available data from previously conducted research

7.1 Stakeholder Identification and Interviews The following stakeholders were identified as important for retrieving necessary information, and were consulted during both formal and informal discussions and interviews:

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● ●

CSRD Staff: Director My Pham and the CSRD team members iDE Vietnam: Director Mr.Quang who assisted in outlining appropriate methods of conducting a value chain analysis Government Departments: (1) Department of Natural Resources and Environment (2) Department of Construction Local Authorities from each of the 27 wards in Hue City, who engaged in providing social and economic reports of populations and the addresses of junk shops situated within their specific ward Hue Women’s Union: as the study focused on street waste pickers and collectors, identified as predominantly women of lower socio-economic status Waste Collectors and Junk Shop Owners: surveyed for quantitative data to retrieve information on the value flow of recyclable material, and qualitative field assessment on the operations of Hue’s informal waste management sector

7.2 Review of Existing Data and Relevant Literature Previously conducted reports were consulted for baseline data and assessment. This included:

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● ● ● ●

Hue GrEEEn City Action Plan (2014) used to frame the scope and objectives of the research project. Household Survey Report (2018) retrieved from CSRD to provide baseline household waste generation and separation data. Waste recycling by informal sectors in Hue city, Vietnam presentation developed in 2014 by the College of Sciences, Hue University and the Waste Management Research Center in Okayama University, Japan. City to River to Coast Project employed by USAID in collaboration with CSRD in 2018/19. Solid Waste Management Value Chain in Selected Barangays of Metro Manila, Rizal and Bulacan Provinces in the Philippines report conducted by Catholic Relief Services in 2016. The Digital Provide: Information (Technology), Market Performance, and Welfare in the South Indian Fisheries Sector (2007) research paper by Robert Jensen. An Estimation of Solid Waste Generation and Recycling Potential at Food and Beverage Service Sectors: A Case Study in Hue, Vietnam research article by Matsui et al. (2018).

7.3 Data Collection The study utilises a combination of quantitative and qualitative data collection measures for waste collectors and junk shops. Formal interview questions were pre-prepared for larger stakeholders, such as Government departments, local authorities and Hue Women’s Union. Semi-qualitative information was retrieved through structured interviews, and group discussions were facilitated with the assistance of CSRD staff members.

7.4 Qualitative Data Structured questionnaires were designed to collect semi-qualitative data from Government department officials, local authorities, and other identified stakeholders. Each questionnaire was framed according to stakeholder interests, and interviews were conducted by RMIT University students with the assistance of CSRD staff for translation.

7.5 Quantitative Data CSRD staff were provided with two questionnaires to conduct interviews with waste pickers/collectors and junk shop owners. The KoBo Toolbox Software system was used to input and collate the data retrieved. The questionnaires were translated into Vietnamese, trialled at two junk shops and adjusted accordingly before their final application.

7.6 Selection of Geographical Area The city limits, as represented in Figure 6, show the outer city limits of central Hue, and the 27 wards that constitute the city. All 27 wards were assessed and categorised into urbanisation classes. Through local ward cooperation, 47 junk shops and 18 processing facilities were identified across the city. This data was retrieved from population census reports. In four cases no junk shop data was provided. For reasons of simplicity we have chosen to extrapolate the data to all 27 wards.

Figure 6: Urbanization Classification of Local Wards in Hue (City Population, 2018).

Population data was sourced from up to date on-line provincial and local ward databases, or through consultation with government officials. Similarly, land size and area boundaries of the wards was identified through consulting census data and demographic data of the city. Population and density values were used to calculate the population per square kilometre. From this calculation five classes of urbanization were established. These urbanization classes, seen in Table 2, were used initially to prioritize junk shop visits and to ensure that junk shops located in wards with a higher population density were visited first. This ensured that the junk shops processing assumed higher volumes of recyclable waste, with more waste collectors visiting were identified and visited in prioritization.

Table 2: Urbanization Class Table and Corresponding Population Boundaries

Urbanization Class 5 4 3 2 1

Population (pop/km2) 0-2000 2000-8000 8000-12000 12000-16000 16000 +

The figures represented above, and justification for the boundary limits are arbitrary, and merely served as a way of segmenting and classifying wards. Furthermore, after all interviewing and data processing was complete, a regression model was considered to adequately predict and model the volume of recyclable waste in different wards, and how the population, number of households, proximity to the city centre and exposure to the hospitality sector may have influenced reported volume recyclable rates. See Figure 7, for the location points of surveyed junk shops.

Figure 7: Location Map of Surveyed Junk Shops

The mapping of junk shop interview points assisted us, amongst other factors, in identifying oscillations in waste value, the prevalence of waste collectors and to better interpret discrepancies in data.

7.7 Limitations of Methodology As with any study involving interactions with people and relying on the voluntary participation of the subjects, this project proved difficult in this regard. It became apparent early in the interviewing stages that waste collectors and junk shop owners may be hesitant to be interviewed and would be resistant to the documentation of junk shops and working conditions. Although this was certainly true, we were able to collect data from 24 Junk shop owners and 30 waste collectors who were willing to be interviewed, with most sharing additional anecdotal information and willing to be photographed.

For these reasons above, although we had initially planned to interview all Junk Shop owners in Hue city and interview all waste collectors that we made contact with, this unfortunately, was not possible. Data incongruencies become more prevalent, and the methodological collection of data and analysis of this data, are then made increasingly more difficult. Still, we believe that with due diligence and care the data can be interpreted responsibly and can reflect the nature of the informal waste recycling sector.

Secondly, the prices of waste materials fluctuate and change daily, making it increasingly difficult to create a mean asset price and to adequately track how and why prices fluctuate. The prices mentioned in the study are an estimation based on data that was collected on the specific day. Ideally a second set of surveys would be carried out at the junk shops at predetermined dates. Our recommendation would be to repeat the surveying process every three months, to track and trace how seasonal factors might influence asset prices.

This last point, follow up surveys and interviewing, cannot be overstated. The third and most permissive limitation throughout the study was the limitation of time. Our belief is that our interpretation of data, discussions therein and recommendations still have the capacity to change and influence approaches to SWM in Hue, Vietnam. The recognition of the informal waste recycling sector is vital, and crucial for those stakeholders with the most to lose; junk shop employees, waste collectors, and the environment.

7.8 Ethical Guidance All staff members at CSRD ensured that the surveyors and researchers adhered to the ethical guidelines as per ethical guidelines outlined in the American Evaluation Association’s (AEA) Guiding Principles for Evaluators. The following is an example of some of these guidelines:

1. Informed Consent: All participants will provide informed consent following standardised and pre-agreed upon consent protocols. 2. Systematic inquiry: Researchers must conduct systematic, data-based inquiries. 3. Competence: Researchers must provide competent performance to stakeholders. 4. Integrity/Honesty: Researchers must display honesty and integrity in their own behaviour and attempt to ensure the honesty and integrity of the entire evaluation process. 5. Respect for People: Researchers must respect the security, dignity and self-worth of the respondents, program participants, clients and other stakeholders. It is expected that the researchers will obtain the informed consent of participants to ensure that they can decide in a conscious, deliberate way whether they want to participate. 6. Responsibilities for General and Public Welfare: Researchers must articulate and consider the diversity of general and public interests and values that may be related to the evaluation or research.

8. Households: Findings and Analysis A household survey report carried out by CSRD gauged the awareness, proficiency and capability of households to implement waste separation at home. The objective of the questionnaire survey was to consider the waste separation activity and if students influenced or participated in waste classification within their household. From the 4175 students surveyed from 05 schools, 1085 students responding to the survey, confirming that waste classification occurred at home. This amounts to 26% of the total survey population. Awareness amongst the student cohort was high. With respondents understanding the necessity of waste classification at home. When asked why it was important to classify at home, most of the students responded as follows:

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For environmental protection Keeping the house hygienic Saving resources Making garbage collection, processing and recycling easier A small additional income Avoidance wasting things that can be recycling Reusing organic waste

The majority of households have been performing waste separation at home for more than a year. Typically, waste classification and consciousness of waste classification is carried out by women, as women tend to take care of housework, cleaning, shopping for their family and taking care of their children. Therefore, they are often the family member that propose waste classification at home. Exploring other factors that affected waste classification in the household environment, respondents answered the questionnaire with the following answers (Table 3). Table 3: Other Reasons for Households Implementing Waste Separation at Home

Reasons Personal consciousness Environmental benefits Economic benefits Children’s education benefits Propaganda and teaching from social and religious organizations

Frequency 94 55 41 39 10

Percentage 94% 55% 41% 39% 10%

Consciousness influences the effectiveness of waste separation and classification at the source, and furthermore, reduces contamination and hazardous waste from entering the waste stream. Efficient and effective waste separation is critical for widespread adoption, exponential recycling rates and recovering otherwise lost material resources. The types of waste classified, percentage of households that classify each type of waste, and the average waste contribution of households for different time intervals are highlighted in Table 4.

Table 4: Waste Types and Average Weights of Recyclable Waste per Household per Week

Waste type

Organic Waste Paper Plastic waste Metal waste Glass jars, bottles Other Battery

Number of households that classify (%) 53% 89% 90% 72% 23% 16% 5%

Average weight per household (kg/week)

Average weight per household (tonne/day)

9.18 1.33 1.14 1.04 0.74 0.48 0.1

149.0 21.6 18.5 16.9 12.0 7.8 1.6

As observed, organic waste accounts for the largest proportion of household waste and is only classified 53% of the time (of the surveyed households). If a market is established to support the appropriate treatment and processing of this organic material into compost or fertiliser an additional value chain can be utilised. Therefore, the current management of organic waste represents a substantial value loss in the SWM system. Similarly, as observed above, there are 21.6 and 18.5 tonnes of paper and plastic waste respectively, sorted and classified by households daily. This supports the need to increase awareness, training and education programs. The Number of Households that classify column highlights the potential room for improvement. The results of this study are useful in providing a subset of data which identifies the value of resources classified in households, assisting in the identification of recommendations and leverage points. Figure 8 provides an overview of the household waste composition.

Figure 8: Household Waste Composition (CSRD 2018)

Concluding, CSRD acknowledges the factors that influence waste classification at home and remark that women are the subject of much influence and are the most effective family member in changing awareness, habits and behaviours amongst family members.

9. Schools: Findings and Analysis Beginning in September 2018, CSRD, in collaboration with the organisation USAID, performed a pilot project to understand collection rates of recyclables in 06 schools across Hue city.

Initially, 1085 household surveys were distributed amongst the schools. These surveys informed staff and contributors that 26% of households classified and managed recyclable waste.

The Pilot Project, funded by USAID, provided $10,000 (USD). This amount provided sets of bins in schools to ensure adequate classification and collection of paper, plastic and metal, and mixed waste. School students were reminded throughout the project duration of the need to classify. Similarly, some schools used alternative strategies to increase collection rates, such as educational posters and community clean up days. However, there is not enough conclusive data to suggest that any one strategy is more effective than another.

Each school received at minimum 04 hours of training (for both staff and students). Each school established its own collection mechanism of these three waste types with either HEPCO, a private transportation business or an individual working in the informal waste recycling sector, such as a waste collector.

Due to individual arrangements with third parties who collected the recyclable wastes, each school received different prices for the recyclable material per unit (kg). In an analysis of the prices reported to CSRD, it is not notable whether fluctuations in prices are due to:

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Seasonal fluctuations Market driven supply and demand, and value of recyclables further up the value chain Proximity to primary and secondary junk shops, or junk collectors Personal arrangements with collectors: Waste collectors may be paid a smaller sum than formal waste collectors (HEPCO and other private collectors), Or; Quality of recyclable waste, and less contamination, yielding a higher value recyclable product

From an analysis of all existing data recorded in the City to River to Coast Project report. We processed and collated the data and derived an average collection and contribution of plastic, metal and paper waste, per student, over the pilot project duration. The pilot project ran for 294 days, appropriating the data for a yearly contribution requires the following operation (Figure 9):

Figure 9: Yearly Conversion Calculation

For example (Figure 10):

Figure 10: Example Calculation

This operation provides the following contribution per student, per year (Table 5): Table 5: Contribution per student for the given period

Plastic and metals Paper

Project Period (kg) 0.256 0.193

Yearly Contribution (kg) 0.318 0.240

Note: the above operation does not make considerations for weekends, school holidays and vacation periods.

9.1 Paper Recyclables Table 6, below, summarises the value that each school has gained through its collection efforts of paper recyclables. It also examines the minimum (min), maximum (max) and actual values it receives through recycling of paper. An analysis of the value differences across schools and at different time periods is important in recognising value losses in the recycling chain and identifies best practice and ideal locations for returning recycling. As highlighted in Table 6, there are significant differences in the amount that different schools receive for the same asset and recyclable resource. To increase material capacity in the recycling sector, this should be critiqued for further clarification. Table 6: Value of Paper collected and sold (VND)

School Volume Collected (kg) Min Value (VND) Actual Value (VND) Max Value (VND) Potential Loss (VND) Potential Gain (VND)

Quoc Hoc

Nguyen Thi Minh Kai 171

Phan Sao Nam

Tran Cao Van


Hoang Kim Hoan 126.01

Bui Thi Xuan













1,197,23 9







1,564,56 0 414,959









1,460,00 0 181,000










As observed, there are vast differences in the minimum, maximum and actual values received by schools. This is due to the price of paper fluctuating between 2000 and 4000VND over the data collection period. This highlights the volatility of the recycling market. It also provides an insight into school practices, the relationships that have been developed, and potentially how remarkably well or poorly schools are performing in accessing high prices, and beneficial trades, for their classification, sorting and recycling efforts.

The potential value losses and potential value gains (VND) are demonstrated at the bottom of Table 6. This showcases the opportunity for schools to establish better relationships with waste collectors or to modify their practises around recyclable waste classification and sorting. Although a potential gain of 101,713VND may seem small over the scope of a 9-month project, it’s worth remembering that these are reflective of a small sample size of schools and students across one part of one city in Vietnam. The ramifications for these fluctuations in prices are enormous when we consider the vastness of the schooling sector. The number of students that are engaged in recycling efforts and the potential for increased revenue for schools, has the potential to greatly optimise waste entering the material stream.

Furthermore, the concept of city wide, province wide, or nationwide standardization of material prices may lead to increased revenue throughout the educational sector. This may facilitate other stakeholders’ stabilization of their operations and create more reliability and more security to invest in the industry.

9.2 Plastic and Metal Recyclables As highlighted above in section 9.1 Paper Recyclables, there is significant variability in prices for plastic and metal recyclable waste, therefore, there is tremendous potential for standardization of prices and secured working rates and salaries. Table 7 represents a summary of prices achieved by the six different schools during the pilot project. Table 7: Value of Plastic and Metal collected and sold


Volume Collected (kg) Min Value (VND) Actual Value (VND) Max Value (VND) Potential Loss (VND) Potential Gain (VND)

Quoc Hoc 365.08

Hoang Kim Hoan 97.68

Nguyen Thi Minh Kai 232.11

Phan Sao Nam

Tran Cao Van

Bui Thi Xuan




















1,241,27 2 170,568




















Similar conclusions can be drawn for plastic and metal recyclable waste, as were drawn earlier in 9.1 Plastic Recyclables. That is to say, that schools can use this comparative data to identify factors that will lead to optimized waste classification and improved relationships with collectors and junk shops. It is important to note, that it is more difficult to standardise this data because two material types are considered (plastic and metal), and so it is challenging to devise a mean waste proportion of either plastic or metals in this mix.

These tables and data provide an insight into the waste collection, classification and the trading system currently in place across the educational sector. This section aims to identify potential profit revenue if a standardized trading scheme is implemented. Employing this data, we were able to establish min, max and average collection rates across schools. From these figures, we can provide a simple projection of the amount of recyclable waste that is classified and collected into the future

if all schools across the province are included in recyclable waste education, classification and collection schemes.

Although this data is potentially unreliable, due to reporting factors, such as measuring recyclable waste and the reporting methods, it can serve as an indicator providing an estimate of potential volume collection rates (in kg) and potential values from recycling waste (VND). Using min, max and average collection rates at each school we can normalize the data and provide an average collection rate per student which can be applied across the whole city and province for extrapolation purposes. The averages can be viewed below in Table 8. Table 8: Average School Collection Rates





57.84 114.28

289.06 333.91

488.87 464.02

Furthermore, we can use these estimates, and use a collection per student rate to extrapolate and predict collection rates and values for all of Hue City, and potentially for the whole province (see Table 9, below). Table 10 presents the min, mean and max values for recyclable waste (VND). Table 9: Projections of Provincial Recyclable Collection and Value of Recyclables at different Market Rates










































Where: Table 10: Minimum, Mean and Maximum Market Prices for Paper and Plastic/Metal


PAPER (VND) 2000








10. Waste Collectors: Findings and Analysis Waste collectors are at the foundation level of the informal recycling system and are critical to the solid waste management chain as it is dependent on their individual collection operations. The system relies on workers operating the informal sector to collect, transport and manage valuable recyclable material. Through conducting field surveys, the demographic data of the waste collectors is presented in Table 11 and demonstrates trends in the current population of workers. Table 11: Demographic Data of Surveyed Waste Collectors Age of Waste Collectors between 45 and 64 (n = 28) 19

Average Years in Waste Collecting Business (n = 28) 11.4

No. Who Provide for their Families Financially (n = 30) 29

No. of Female Waste Collectors (n = 28) 23

Average Minimum No. of Working Hours Per Day (n = 30) 8.5

Average Income (VND/Day) (n = 27) 77,060

The capacity of waste collectors for material collection and income generation is determined by their access to appropriate resources, time and individual capability. Table 12 below, highlights the current state of capacity of interviewed waste pickers. It is evident to suggest that there is vast potential to increase resource input in order to promote the capacity of workers in the informal sector. This is explored further in Section 14. Table 12: Resource Accessibility Data Average Weight (kg) Collected per Day (n = 28) 45

No. Who Own a Cart (n = 28) 8

No. Who Would like access to a Cart (n = 27) 17

No. Who Own a Phone (n = 28) 22

No. Who are Connected to Internet (n = 28) 2

Access to Safety Wear and Equipment (n = 30) Mask (30) Hand Tools (29) Gloves (28) Rain Coat (10)

The relationships between waste collectors and junk shops, and waste collectors with other waste collectors has been surveyed to understand the structure of informal operations. The findings are presented in Table 13 and indicate the reasons for specific interactions. Table 13: Relationship Data No. Who have a Designated Waste Picking Zone (n = 28) 12

How Price of Material is found everyday (n = 28)

No. Who visit the Same Junk Shop Everyday (n = 28)

Number of visits to Junk Shops per Day (n = 28)

Directly Asking Junk Shop (24) Memory (3) Friends (1)


Twice (18) Three Times (10)

As illustrated in Figure 11, waste collectors reported to sell their recyclable material to a junk shop predominantly based on locality.

Figure 11: Waste Collectors' Reason for Selling to Junk Shop, by Percentage Reporting

This is dependent on the proximity of a junk shop to a waste collectors’ home, or the place of waste collection (i.e. market, school, or business). Interactions with junk shops are also influenced by personal relationships, which is highlighted through respondents selling based on friendship with a junk shop owner. When respondents were asked what would assist their working conditions, an overwhelming 38% reported healthcare as the main priority for improving waste collecting operations. This was closely followed by financial support, indicative of potential low-interest loans to improve cash flow and income stability. Moreover, 15% of waste collectors expressed that the ownership of a small-scale cart can greatly enhance their work abilities. This represents the potential impact of appropriate technology to advance the capacities of vulnerable individuals who comprise the informal sector.

Figure 12: Suggestions for Improving Waste Collector Working Conditions

Further support in the form of equipment and collection tools is also identified as a key improvement point, with 13% of those surveyed expressing their interest. These figures, along with additional improvement areas, can be seen visually in Figure 12, and form the basis for recommendations made in Section 14.

11. Junk Shops: Findings and Analysis The study surveyed 22 Junk Shops with a focus on one-on-one interviews. Due to limitations in language, the researchers carried out observations, took photographs and were able to converse (via translation) with Junk Shop owners when appropriate. All junk shops are registered with the local wards, which expedited the process, and reduced resources in locating junk shops. Survey findings indicate that the average junk shop has been owned and operated for 15 years. Junk shops typically trade around 550 kilograms every day. Data suggests there are a proportion of junk shops trading significantly less than 550 kilograms, similarly, there are a number of junk shops with the capacity to trade up to 5,000 kilograms every day. General profile data of junk shop enterprises is observed in Table 14. Table 14: General Profile of Junk Shop Enterprises Surveyed Gender

Owned or Rented

Junk Shop Ownership

Trading (daily)

Male: 8 Female: 16

Owned: 22

1-30 Years

10-5000 kilograms

Average Income (VND/Day) [n=22] 127,287


0-7 Employees

According to the data, most of the junk shop owners hired external labour to classify, sort and pack the waste to be sold to the next junk buyer in the value chain. Junk shop employees are part of an informal waste recycling system which does not acknowledge the hazardous working conditions, nor does it provide any protective equipment or healthcare as a staple of employment. This situation is both disheartening, and something to be critical of. This institutional gap also represents enormous potential for structural and organisational reform. Furthermore, junk shop owners acknowledged that they wanted to provide healthcare, but cited costs and desire to grow, as barriers to the provision of healthcare services.

Other publications and studies suggest that the implementation and engagement of Door to Door Collection (DTDC) methods, which include waste collectors receiving a wage for their collection efforts and being integrated into a more structured and equitable system (Catholic Relief Services 2016). Junk shop owners already confirmed that most categories of paper, metal and glass recovered by collectors or households already have a long, and well-established recycling value chain, and are regarded as high-value materials. Table 15 details the respondence and percentage of junk shops where a specific recyclable material can be found.

Table 15: Junk Shop Material Composition

Material Plastic bottles Paper Iron Aluminium Copper PVC Pipes Glass Plastic bags Other

Interview Respondents 18/24 16/24 14/24 13/24 10/24 9/24 3/24 2/24 1/24

Percentage (%) 75 66 58.3 54.16 41.667 37.5 12.5 8.33 4.16

Note: Low proportions of glass recycling amongst junk shops may be reflective of an industry wide recycling mechanism where trucks from respective alcohol companies collect glass bottles and re-use them.

The waste types and resources that are problematic however, are the low-value plastics that waste collectors do not pick up. This is partly attributed to of their low weight, and due to resource contamination, which reduces the value of the material significantly. It therefore becomes redundant for a collector to utilise, as value in the resource is minimal.

Given that junk shops require space to store, process and pack recyclable material waste, it stands to reason that certain volumes of low-value plastics value can be leveraged by the knowledge of seasonal fluctuations in their value. It is worth noting however, space and land is a huge encumbrance and does deter junk shop owners for stockpiling materials for long periods of time.

12. Plastics Recyclers: Findings and Analysis Site visits to plastic processing facilities highlighted the entrepreneurial endeavours currently undertaken in the city surrounds, whilst also exhibiting the hazardous and unsafe working conditions that employees are exposed to. We were fortunate to be granted almost unrestrained access to the operations of some small-scale plastic processing facilities. In one such facility, plastic bags are recycled through a melting, cooling and palettization process. The pellets are subsequently melted and formed into new plastic bags (see Figure 13).

Figure 13: Recycled Plastic Pellets are Converted into new Plastic Bags in Processing Facilities

This simple, yet effective technology shows promise in reducing plastic bag waste that enters the environment as contamination. It is worth noting however, that the optimum situation will be the avoidance of plastic bags, rather than recycling plastic bags. This recycling process causes a plethora of environmental and ecological impacts, notwithstanding the conditions human workers are exposed to.

The preference of using virgin materials compared to recycled plastic pellets is for the most part controlled by the economy, as businesses and systems prioritise the material which promotes and increases accessibility to the market. This preference is determined by the value and price of crude oil, which is currently at relatively low prices (in 2008, crude oil fetched $135.90 (Business Insider 2019), and now it is valued at $54.63). In the past however, when crude oil prices were higher, recyclers benefited because they could offer plastics processors a low-cost alternative resin. Now that virgin prices have dropped substantially, recyclers are suffering. Plastic processors are flexible and can adjust to customer demand. In effect, the industry is at the whim of market prices for crude oil. How can a society make environmental decisions that are reliant on the value of a commodity which is beyond their control? At least within the borders of the society, such a government should

look to policy and strategy to mitigate the use of environmentally destruction processes. Secondly, the secondary resin market of recycled plastics can improve if cleaner recovery with reasonable quality can be sourced (Figure 14).

Figure 14: Scrap Recycled Plastic is Melted and Converted into New Products

Throughout Hue City there are several plastic processing facilities that are managing to find niches in the market where they can provide low cost products, at a fraction of virgin plastic product prices, and in high volume. One such facility was visited during the research and interviewing phase of the project. The plastic pellets are processed, melted and formed on site, and are an environmentally friendlier solution than virgin plastic pellet use (see Figure 15). In this facility plastic bottles are upcycled into jars and containers, and plastic scraps and pellets are formed into coat hangers.

Figure 15: Plastic Melting and Repurposing in a Plastic Processing Facility

Another problem that plastic recyclers experience in Hue, which is likely to be plaguing nations worldwide, is that cheap, recycled pellets and virgin materials are flooding the market. Cheap imports available from China, and the sheer scale and volume of plastic processing facilities globally, mean that it can be difficult for local outfits to compete with larger corporations. Furthermore, it is not lucrative for recyclers to source local plastics, when in effect, they are at the same or at a higher price than imported plastics.

13. Cafes, Small Restaurants and Large Restaurants: Findings and Analysis According to Matsui T. et al (2015), Hue consists of 4,362 businesses operating in the Food and Beverage sector. This sector includes cafe’s (1,925), small restaurants (2,306) and large restaurants (131). Of the 4,362 businesses in the scope of the study, 103 were surveyed. The composition of waste types from the Food & Beverage sector is observed in Table 16. Table 16: Composition and Potential of different waste types in the Food and Beverage Sector

Waste Type

Composition (%)

Kitchen Waste

37.1 - 49.8


11.4- 34.0


8.3 - 11.4

Recycling Potential (%)

Compositing Potential (%)


30.9 - 61.6

As evident in Table 16, there is a range of values within each waste type and within each classification type. For the purposes of this study we have taken a conservative approach and utilised the low range, and low percentile findings in this analysis. Consequently, we will take the approach that 11.4% and 8.3% of all food and beverage waste is paper and plastic waste, respectively. We will also assume that 17.0% of waste generated has recycling potential. The report findings are outlined in Table 17. Table 17: Waste Values and Potential Recycling and Composting Volumes

Classification General Waste Separated Recyclables

Waste (tons/day) 18.5 1.1

Separated Food Residue




Recycling Potential (tons/day) 3.52

Composting Potential (tons/day) 10.84

As observed in Table 17, of the 38.56 tonnes of waste that is produced in the Food and Beverage Sector every day, only 1.1 tonnes are separated and recycled from all waste; this falls remarkably short of the 4.62 tonnes per day that could potentially be recycled. Similarly, although 18.96 tonnes of food waste is separated, 10.84 tonnes per day is being sent to landfill. This constitutes an incredible loss in resources and a valuable commodity loss every day.

If businesses within the sector can improve processes and procedures General Waste across the sector could be reduced from 18.5 tonnes per day to 4.14 tonnes, this represents a reduction of 14.36 tonnes per day (or a 77.6% reduction).

Prioritization and delivery of funds, and training and education resources should be delivered in accordance with where the most benefit can be realised. In this case, we will analyse the three different contributors to food and beverage waste (in this study) and calculate where the most benefit can be achieved. As observed in Table 18, the daily generation rates of different waste types are outlined. Table 18: Waste Classification and Daily Contributions from Cafe’s, Small Restaurants and Large Restaurants

Business Sources

Number of Businesses



Waste Generation (kg/facility/day) 6.0

Food Residue (kg/facility/day)

Recyclables (kg/facility/day)



Small Restaurant Large Restaurant









In ensuring the accurate provision of funds, resources and attention, total waste generation amounts are calculated, and food residue and recyclable projections are made. Due to the variability in food residue composition amongst waste types, two projections have been made; low end projections (worst-case scenario) and high-end projections (best-case scenario). The results are observed in Table 19. Table 19: Projections of Food Residue and Recyclable Potential

Business Source

Cafe Small Restaurant Large Restaurant

City-Wide Waste Generation (tonne/day) 11.550 34.590 5.895

Food Residue Potential (tonne/day) [30.9-61.6%] Low End High End 3.57 10.69 1.82

7.11 21.31 3.63

Recyclable Potential (tonne/day) [17%] Projection 1.96 5.88 1.00

As evident above, the highest contributor towards city-wide waste generation is small restaurants, constituting 66.5% of all waste from the food and beverage sector. By optimizing waste classification and ensuring that all businesses in this sector can adequately sort, classify and manage both food residue waste and recyclable waste there is the potential to reduce waste to landfill by up 27.19 tonnes (using high end projections). A reduction of 27.19 tonnes from the small restaurant sub sector would account for a 52.2% reduction in total waste generated in the Food and Beverage Sector. It is important to remark that these calculations are merely projections, however they provide a mathematical insight into the potential for businesses in this sector to reduce their waste footprint and maximise economic revenue.

13.1 Recommendations Through a thorough analysis of data available, and through qualitative and anecdotal research undertaken in this research project, the following recommendations for the Food and Beverage Sector are summarised below: 13.1.1 Link Waste Collectors into the Recyclable Stream

Currently waste collectors interact with food and beverage businesses across Hue City; however, this arrangement is informal. The integration of waste collector consultation into the recycled waste stream will assist in a) higher value recyclable waste (by reducing contamination), leading to higher engagement by the informal waste system; and b) most efficient collection and processing procedures, ensuring that recyclable waste is set aside and collected, rather than sent to landfill out of convenience. 13.1.2 Support Green Initiatives

As climate change consciousness grows, and individuals develop an increased sense of responsibility for their consumer choices, it becomes more evident that greener, most sustainable initiatives should be prioritized. Local business councils and provincial governments should take note of green initiatives with support and resources allocated appropriately. For example, businesses which steward more sustainable material and packaging choices should be identified and rewarded appropriately. This recognition is not out of sentiment, but rather as a means of acknowledging the environmental cost associated with city-wide waste and pollution. 13.1.3 Certification that Validates Company Eco-friendliness

Formal recognition and acknowledgement of eco-friendliness from the city or from an independent body may help influence consumer behaviour and engagement. As consumer consciousness and environmental concerns mount, there is an increased desire from the community for businesses to be environmentally responsible and reduce their environmental impact. Certification or accreditation, with relevant badging, e.g. a shop front sticker, will confer a business’ accomplishment of operating sustainably and increase consumer engagement. 13.1.4 Education, Training and Investment

Hospitality education, employee training and investment in innovative processes, procedures and materials has the vast potential to reduce general waste in the Food and Beverage sector, and optimize recycling and composting in the value chain.

“This work is really hard, for women even harder, income is not high�

14. Strengthening the Informal Waste Management Sector: Recommendations 14.1 Capacity Building A key identified opportunity is to improve the capacity of waste collectors through technical solutions that enable safer practice, accessibility to resources and higher rates of collection. This has the potential to increase waste collector daily income and flow of recyclable material within the value chain system.

Field surveys reveal that waste collectors sell an average of 45kg of recyclable material per day, with 70% of respondents using bikes as the primary resource to retrieve material (see Figure 5). This means of collection corresponds to an average salary of 77,060VND, as waste collectors are limited by the amount of material they can store and sell each day. 60% of participants visit junk shops twice per day, and transport loads of material around Hue City.

Through qualitative interviewing, cart owners reported having approximately 50 kgs of capacity (material dependent) per cartload. The ownership of a cart maximizes income by allowing the collector to store, transport and sell large volumes of recyclable waste easily and more efficiently. Field surveys revealed that the majority (76.67%) of respondents do not have access to a cart and would want one (56.65%) to improve their business and increase their income.

These figures present an identified potential for capacity building through microfinancing loans, to purchase a material storing cart (see Figure 16). The support of small, low-interest loans to vulnerable communities, can be provided through an NGO that specializes in microfinancing, such as Hearts for Hue. This enables low-income waste collectors to have the initial funds to invest in a cart, where they can increase their daily income and repay back the small loans monthly.

Figure 16: Cart Owning Waste Collector

14.2 Increasing Technical Input As highlighted in Section 10, the majority of surveyed collectors (71.4%) sell waste to the same junk shop every day, with 44% of respondents claiming it is due to the location being close to their home. 85% of waste collectors surveyed ‘Ask Junk Shops’ to find the price of recyclable material each day, as prices fluctuate daily. This system is dependent on junk shops to maintain relationships with waste collectors, in order to sustain the business.

A study conducted by Jensen (2011) explores the economic benefits of mobile phone technology in a fishing industry in rural India. The introduction of mobile phones to fishermen and wholesalers in order to publish daily prices was found to reduce price dispersion throughout the region. This created a system of standardized pricing and improved overall consumer and producer welfare.

In an informal system with limited information, the utilization of mobile phones is a feasible economic tool to improve the sector. 78.5% of interviewed waste collectors reported to own a phone, but only 7% of this sample size are connected to the internet. Through utilising the access to cell phones and creating an online platform for junk shops to publish daily prices of material, waste collectors are able to engage in optimal arbitrage. This will further impact the price of recyclable material, as junk shops will compare with others to maintain a competitive status and ensure prices are moderated.

By assigning additional resources and information to waste collectors, there is an increased awareness of where to sell materials based on the best purchasing price. This acts to promote the role of workers in the informal sector and improves their bargaining power position within the system. The program has the potential to be funded through microfinancing loans from participating NGOs and can be tested through a pilot project implemented in designated wards to examine the effectiveness of the program.

14.3 Unionization A basis of collective operation is witnessed within the informal sector and is reflected by field survey data indicating that 66.67% of collectors (n = 28) know and work with other waste collectors. This trend is further demonstrated by 73.33% of survey participants (n = 28) confirming they are friends with other collectors in the industry. An opportunity to unionize the informal sector is evident and can be achieved through creating a formally recognised Waste Collector Union. This will give waste collectors the opportunity to engage in collective action to improve working conditions and formulate a structural framework of workers’ demands which can be communicated across the industry.

It is suggested that Hue Women's Union is to support the collective operation of waste collectors who are identified as low-income, vulnerable communities, and consists mainly of women. Through coordinating the informal sector, workers are given more bargaining power to negotiate prices for recyclable material. In addition to this, the provision of capacity building resources has the potential to provide income stability as collection operations are made more efficient. This movement will aim

to advocate for the collective advancement of waste collectors in the waste management sector and aims to promote the recognition of their vital role in Hue City.

14.4 Healthcare Scheme Aligned with the unionization of waste collectors, a scheme for medical insurance to advocate for safer working conditions is recommended, as the occupation is acknowledged as hazardous and labour intensive. As mentioned in Section 10, healthcare is recognised as the key factor of improvement for working conditions by waste collectors. The absence of fundamental healthcare is discerning, as informal sector workers are not covered for incidents that may occur during working labour.

This issue can be addressed through the development of a healthcare scheme, where participants co-pay into a collective fund to help improve their livelihoods and ensure that they receive appropriate medical treatment when necessary. A weekly or monthly contribution from waste collectors would be pooled and held into a healthcare fund, managed by a participating organisation. The fund can be accessed when needed by members to meet required medical expenses. As waste collectors and junk shop owners are women of vulnerable status, it is proposed that this program is overseen and implemented with the assistance of Hue Women’s Union.

14.5 Education and Training Programs Workers of the informal sector are recognised as having the lowest level skills and credentials, which are not transferable to other working industries. 50% of surveyed waste collectors (n = 28) reported to have ‘Primary School’ as their highest form of education. This gap in institutional education can be reformed through the implementation of education and training programs.

Practical training programs that teach workers hazardous waste management techniques, are beneficial in improving workplace safety and confidence in collection practices. Education on how to handle potentially harmful materials and correct disposal techniques are integral and can manifest a vision of safety throughout the system. Teaching workers the correct uses of protective equipment, and potential funding allocated to PPE resources, are important in ensuring safer working conditions.

Further opportunities exist through encouraging waste collectors to expand regions and types of collection. Establishing DTDC for households, where waste collectors would collect sourceseparated waste for a small fee, has the potential to optimize rates of recyclable waste collection. An organised approach to DTDC moves to improve the service value chain of recyclable material, as a new system of collection is created.

Trends indicate that women are most influential in the household as they are responsible for activities such as: shopping, cleaning, cooking and organising (CSRD, 2018). The position of women can be strengthened through community programs which focus on educating participants in source

separation. This has the ability to maximise household recyclable waste potential and remove valuable materials from the general waste stream where they are sent to landfill facilities. Through this application, a transfer of awareness in recycling habits can be achieved within households in Hue City and can engage younger generations in sustainable waste management practices.

15. Plastic Recyclable Materials Value Chain The informal recycling sector is actively recovering high-value materials from the waste stream, playing a crucial role in the recycling value chain. Aside from the informal recycling sector, there is close to no recycling efforts taking place in Hue City. It is then vital that the sector is supported and acknowledged for the important role it plays in reducing waste entering the environment. These recyclable materials are sold to small junk shops, where subsequently, the materials are stored by the collector or junk shop or sold directly to a second stage junk shop or plastic processing facility. If clean plastics are recovered, this can improve the income for waste collectors and junk shops. Cleaner recovery of the material will attribute to additional value per unit sold. Due to limitations in space and storage, many materials are sorted improperly, and contaminated materials are traded (in some cases these contaminated materials are worthless).

The scale of a junk shop, and the volumes it processes daily, can indicate the potential for technologies and processes to be introduced. Larger junk shops utilise conveyors, larger sorting sets, and more labour and can compact their refuse before packing and preparing for second stage processing. These MRFs, typically linked to Secondary junk shops, are crucial in the plastic waste value chain as they ensure that materials are sorted and packaged appropriately. In all facilities we visited we observed fresh drinking water, toilet facilities and a wash basin, however as noted previously, none of the MRFs or junk shops were willing to provide health care cover at the time of interviewing.

Primarily, the value addition occurs when waste collectors and junk shops sort and classify waste materials (see Table 20). Whilst the waste collectors participate in level one sorting, which involves basic types of materials and equipment, the junk shops carry out level two specialized sorting. Junk shops with the required space and capital specialize further, by sorting material into type, colour, virgin, recycled status, malleability (soft, hard) and so on, adding more value to the materials. Others can clean and compact materials to add further value. Table 20 presents value addition across junk shops in the recyclable material value chain. Table 20: Buying price and Value addition of Recyclables


Paper Plastic Bottles PVC Pipe Iron (Fe) Copper (Cu) Aluminium (Al) Glass

Buying Price for Primary Junk Shop (VND/kg) 1,487 4,912 3,333 5,283 88,000 18,100 5,667

Buying Price for Secondary Junk Shop (VND/kg) 1,773 5,671 4,000 5,683 94,200 19,884 6,133

Total Value addition (VND)

Net Value addition (%)

286 759 667 400 6,200 1,784 466

19.2 14.4 20.0 7.6 7.0 9.8 8.2

It is evident that secondary junk shops can make a profit from the value addition to recyclable waste, primarily through sorting, cleaning and packaging for further processing. It is worth mentioning that there is some cost incurred by secondary junk shops, as the cost of labour to sort and process should be considered when interpreting the figures above. Investment in recycling facilities, such as MRFs will enable more efficient, effective and safer processing of recyclable plastics, and under the right conditions will reduce human exposure to toxic materials and hazardous substances during the sorting process. More efficient systems and facilities will have flow on effects, such as better prices for waste collectors and higher profit margins for the junk shops.

16 Recycling Value Chain and MRFs Local wards and provincial authorities should carefully examine the best possible way to build and operate an MRF. Its’ successful operation will ensure an effective reduction in waste, and diversion of recyclable materials. This is an environmental and public health work-making initiative. Consider that MRFs in developing countries are:

● ● ●

Publicly owned and operated Publicly owned and privately operated (preferred for developing countries) Privately owned and operated (mostly developed countries)

Looking at the current capacity of the local wards, it is unlikely that they can successfully run an MRF as it requires special skills in the sorting of different materials, storage, market assessment, equipment and ownership, and presents safety issues. Similarly, if a livelihood group is given the job of operating an MRF, the group will require intensive training in SWM, the sorting of materials, market linkages, bookkeeping and accounting, and assessment.

16.1 Entrepreneurship and businesses using recyclable goods 16.1.1 Creating sustainable markets for recycled products and recovered materials

Numerous small plastic processing facilities were visited throughout the field study. One plastic processing facility purchased and collected water bottles (1.5 and 2 litre varieties) and shredded plastic scraps. This facility was one of several facilities operating in Hue. It cleaned, prepared and processed plastic water bottles into plastic jars and containers which consequently were sold at wholesale to other retailers or consumers in the city. The shredded plastic scraps were also melted and transformed into coat hangers; with the facility specialising in two products. Due to the recyclable nature of the jars and containers, the facility was able to produce and sell the products below market prices, providing a competitive alternative to existing virgin plastic products. The facility has been a family business in operation for over twenty years, this is evidence of the inherent value of the recyclable product sphere and supports the feasibility of more plastic processing and product markets in Hue City. 16.1.2 Establishing incentives for engaging in source waste separation

This can be achieved through establishing written agreements to engage businesses, households and schools in more stable interactions with the informal sector. Through developing a mutual symbiotic relationship where both parties benefit, an incentive for engaging in waste separation is established. According to the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF), general approaches to creating economic opportunities (2018) include: • • •

Generating Livelihoods for Disadvantaged People Developing Micro, Small, Medium, and Community Enterprises Supporting Agriculture and Rural Development

• • • • • •

Protecting and Conserving the Environment Implementing Public-Private Partnerships and Corporate Social Responsibility Facilitating South-South Exchanges and Cross-Border Cooperation Self-sufficiency, self-reliance, support of micro and medium-size businesses Skills training, microenterprise development, expansion of community infrastructure Sustainable economic growth focus

17. Training on Value Chain and Marketability in Recyclables If any other player, except a junk shop, is chosen to operate an MRF, the operator will require intensive training to efficiently run it. This training will include:

● ● ● ● ● ● ●

Quality sorting and cleaning of materials Value addition in high-value plastics, such as PET, HDPE and PP Value addition in paper, glass and metal Value creation in low-value plastics Storage/hedging/volume, as per market assessment Exploration of market for low-value plastics (problematic plastics related to drain clogging) Compost production and market development

18. Performance Monitoring By initiating DTDC services, the scope of the collection coverage will increase, and indiscriminate dumping, and burning of waste. As a result, the need for extensive environmental monitoring will decrease. Similarly, operation of an MRF will require a performance-monitoring system to improve collection, sorting and residual management. Without an adequate monitoring system in place during the initial stages of intervention, the project’s effects will be difficult to judge and analyse. More importantly, gaps cannot be filled without a monitoring framework in place.

19. Conclusions 19.1 Sensitivity Analysis and Interpretation of Value Chain In undertaking a value chain analysis, we collected quantitative data from junk shop interviews to understand the flow of materials through different sub sectors operating in Hue City. The junk shop owners provided an insight into the different stakeholders and how they contributed to the overall value chain. The key contributors to the recyclable waste system are presented in Figure 17.

Figure 17: Recyclable Value Chain Contributions from Different Sectors

As observed in Figure 17, it is evident that Waste Collectors and Households account for the largest proportion of recyclable material contributing to the SWM system. As 56.6% of Junk Shop recyclable waste is managed by Waste Collectors, the workers who operate in the informal sector are critical to the effective functioning of the recyclable waste management value chain in Hue City.

Therefore, we can derive that by improving work conditions, and by increasing technical input to build the capacity of waste collectors, we can maximise the volume of recyclable material flowing through the system. Through promoting the role of the informal sector, an increase in material value is achieved. This has the potential to minimize the volume of detrimental waste that ends up as contamination in the environment.

As represented, households serve as another significant contributor to the recyclable waste system and are responsible for 26.6% of material sent to the waste stream. The role of households can be maximised through recommended community education programs, that focus on training women in source separation. This endeavour ensures that household recyclable waste is managed appropriately in order to increase the recovery of valuable material in the chain.

Additionally, we can observe that the proportion (18%) of recyclable material that flows from the Primary Junk Shops to Waste Treatment Facilities (WTFs) represents a small quantity of the total waste that is processed within Hue City. This suggests that further investment in WTFs could reduce the need to send valuable recyclable waste outside of the city, where 28% of total waste handled by the informal sector is currently sent. Furthermore, we can observe that 54% of recyclable waste is sent from a Primary Junk Shop to a Secondary Junk Shop for Level 2 processing and classification. Level 2 sorting and classification services can only be carried out in specialised junk shops, of which there are only a certain proportion of which have the required land size to process a number material types, have the capital to support more sophisticated processing services, and have the workforce to ensure that the waste can be processed in an economically viable way.

20. Acknowledgements We would like to thank the following government bodies and organisations for allowing time for us to interview and collect qualitative information:

• • • •

Department of Natural Resources & Environment (DONRE) Department of Construction (DOC) Hue Women’s Union HEPCO

Similarly, we would like to thank the following individuals for taking the time out of their schedules to answer questions, provide guidance and provide insight into the recyclable value chain:

• • •

Mr Tuan Mr Nguyen Van Quang Mr Vu Tran

We would like to extend a special thanks to our friends, the staff at CSRD. It would not have been possible without the guidance from My Pham, the director of CSRD. For organizing and corresponding with relevant stakeholders, it would not have been possible without Huong Tran and Tran Thi Thanh Tam. For translation services and their eagerness to help we thank Thu Thuy and Minh Quang. For ensuring all financials were in order we would also like to thank Tam Hoai.

21. References 1. Asian Development Bank (2014). Hue GrEEEn City Action Plan. Hue: Asian Development Bank. 2. Catholic Relief Services (2016). Solid Waste Management Value Chain in Selected Barangays of Metro Manila, Rizal and Bulacan Provinces in the Philippines. USAID. 3. The Centre for Social Research and Development. (2018). Household Waste Survey. Hue: CSRD. 4. The Centre for Social Research and Development. (2019). City to River to Coast Project. Hue: USAID. 5. Jensen, R. (2007). The Digital Provide: Information (Technology), Market Performance, and Welfare in the South Indian Fisheries Sector. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, [online] 122(3), pp.879-924. Available at: https://academic.oup.com/qje/articleabstract/122/3/879/1879540/ [Accessed 20 Sep. 2019]. 6. Lieu, P., Tuan, T., Hoa, L. and Matsui, Y. (2014). Waste recycling by informal sectors in Hue city, Vietnam. 7. Markets Insider. (2019). Crude Oil Price Today. [online] Available at: https://markets.businessinsider.com/commodities/oil-price?type=wti [Accessed 10 Sep. 2019]. 8. Matsui, Y., Son, L., Thi Thu Trang, D., Hong Dang, N., Chi Mai, T. and Phuc Thanh, N. (2018). An Estimation of Solid Waste Generation and Recycling Potential at Food and Beverage Service Sectors: A Case Study in Hue, Vietnam. [online] Opensciencepublications.com. Available at: https://www.opensciencepublications.com/wp-content/uploads/ESS-2454-5953-5-133.pdf [Accessed 4 Sep. 2019]. 9. PADF. (2018). 2018 Annual Report. [online] Available at: https://static1.squarespace.com/static/54073cece4b0bf6cd12bf4c9/t/5cf68422525ac0000 17b1b9a/1559659566177/Annual+Report+2018.pdf [Accessed 15 Sep. 2019].


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