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Waste management

New partnership closes gap in fight against plastic waste in Vietnam

31 January 2022

A new partnership is launched to tackle the growing challenge of non-recyclable plastic waste in Vietnam. As technical consultant, FLSmidth will work together with the waste handling start-up TONTOTON to assist local cement producers in replacing fossil fuels with plastic waste.

Eight million tonnes of plastic end up in the world’s oceans every year. As the fourth-largest contributor to marine plastic pollution globally, Vietnam wants to buck this harmful trend, which is largely caused by an ineffective waste handling infrastructure. Sustainability start-up TONTOTON is taking up the fight, streamlining the plastic waste ‘value chain’ by collecting and recycling large quantities of plastic on behalf of major consumables companies before it reaches the ocean.

As the world’s third-largest cement manufacturing nation, Vietnam had an annual production of nearly 100 million tonnes in 2020, surpassed only by China and India. The non-recyclable plastic waste can be used in co-processing at cement plants and is therefore a perfect alternative fuel for the Vietnamese cement industry, which today is dependent on large quantities of coal and other fossil fuels. Cement production accounts for 7-8% of the world’s CO2 emissions – with nearly 40% stemming from the combustion of fossil fuels. Adopting alternative fuel sources and waste-to-energy processes will significantly offset the environmental footprint.

As plastic waste volumes grow, companies are under increasing pressure to report on ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) initiatives, and this includes documenting their waste disposal. Regulators and financial institutions are increasingly monitoring such non-financial factors as an element of business performance, and they often form the basis for a license to operate.

“Together with TONTOTON, we are enabling cement plants in Vietnam to replace traditional fossil fuels with a more environmentally friendly alternative, while also tackling the tremendous waste challenges,” says Carsten Riisberg Lund, Cement Industry President, FLSmidth. “With our process knowledge, technical expertise within co-processing, and waste-fuel firing equipment, we proud to help facilitate a win-win situation for all parties involved,” Carsten Riisberg Lund concludes.

“This partnership is an important step towards unleashing the benefits of the waste-to-energy transition in the Vietnamese cement industry,” says TONTONTON founder and Director, Barak Ekshtein. “We are excited to have FLSmidth onboard as waste co-processing technical consultant as, together, we aim to close the gap in the plastic waste value chain for the benefit of both our customers and the environment,” explains Barak Ekshtein.

The partnership was announced today during the ADB Healthy Oceans Tech and Finance Forum: Innovative Solutions for Asia and the Pacific. Local cement producers interested in getting involved are welcomed to reach out to TonToTon for information on how to get started.

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