European tech eases plastic waste problem in Vietnam

Plastic products are easily found in every corner of streets; quite simply we think we cannot now live without them. Plastic is cheap and incredibly versatile with properties that make it ideal for many applications. Every year, we are producing 300 million tons of plastic products worldwide, haft of which is single-use products. According to annual report in 2015 from environmental organization Ocean Conservancy, Vietnam is among five Asian countries that account for as much as 60% of 8 million tons of plastic waste dumped into the ocean each year. It becomes a bigger problem everyday and we should take action to deal with it in a sustainable way.

Upp! UpCycling Plastic bv is a Dutch start-up company promoting the use of durable products made from recycled plastic waste. Preferably plastic waste otherwise ending up being burned, in landfills or the environment as to contribute to a cleaner and greener world. Upp! wants to do this by establishing processing facilities for regranulate (granules made from plastic waste) and manufacture from locally sources plastic waste durable products for the local market. The products are 100% made from plastic waste and 100% recyclable themselves. Every piece of plastic waste used does never have to end up as waste again.

Upp! makes thick walled moulded products from recycled plastic waste. Typically we make durable construction materials such as planks, poles and panels, but other moulded products can be manufactured as well. Upp! uses extrusion and injection moulding technology as well as “intrusion”, a combination of extrusion and injection moulding to manufacture thick walled products. The planks & poles are very durable, they don’t rot nor splinter. Technical lifetime is easily exceeding 50 years. These products are weather resistant (UV, rain) and are performing very well outdoors. Typical applications are deck planks for bridges, jetties, footpaths and terraces, panels and poles for retaining walls, sheet-piles, outdoor/street furniture and traffic applications.

In early February, Upp! joined Ms. Sigrid Kaag’s first oversea trade mission since her appointment as the Dutch Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation to look for partners that share the same vision of making the world cleaner and greener. Upp! has chance to make a big step by signing a memorandum of understanding with Vihajico to investigate possibilities to improve and use the plastic waste supply chain in place and use part of the plastic waste collected in craft plastic villages to manufacture planks, poles and panels to be used in EcoPark township located in Van Giang, Hung Yen. Part of the plan is to establish a plastic waste processing plant.

Upp! also signed another memorandum with ProTrade International Tech Park, a member of ProTrade Corporation in Binh Duong province to collect and sort plastic waste from their industrial park and process this into granulate to be used to manufacture durable construction materials. Part of the project is as well to investigate whether we can also use household domestic waste from nearby communities.

With the current cooperations and supports from other local partners, Upp! hopes to build its first plant and transfer the technology to make some real impact to the problem of plastic waste in Vietnam.