Scientists propose tax incentives for waste paper collection

Instead of wasting a lot of money burying or burning scrap paper, with the resulting environmental pollution, scientists say it would be better to spend funds on encouraging companies to collect and re-use scrap paper.

The Saigon Paper Corporation uses a high percentage of scrap paper in making finished products.

Cao Tien Vi, general director of the company, in September 2014, said the company decided to raise consumption paper capacity by threefold to 44,000 tons per annum, and raise industrial paper production capacity from 53,000 tons to 224,000 tons.

In order to get enough materials to fulfill the production plans, his company would have to increase the the proportion of scrap paper imports from 30 per cent to 50 per cent.  

When asked why the company does not plan to use domestic scrap paper instead of imports, Vi said it was difficult to collect scrap paper from domestic sources, since collectors are not encouraged to do this.

If the company collects paper, the cost would be high because scrap paper comes from many different sources, while it would also have to pay for scrap paper classification as well. Besides, the fact that it cannot get a VAT refund when buying scrap paper from individuals would also push up production costs.

An officer from the Vietnam Paper and Pulp Association (VPPA) said the association has repeatedly asked the government to classify as non-taxed production and consumption the chain of collecting used paper, classifying scrap paper, packing, distributing collected paper and recycling paper.

Vietnam has to pay hundreds of millions of dollars every year to import scrap paper. Meanwhile, it also has to pay big money to collect and treat scrap paper as waste.

According to VPPA, Vietnam will have to pay VND240 billion a year to treat 800,000 tons of scrap paper if the paper cannot be collected for recycling. Meanwhile, the consequences will be immeasurable when the scrap paper is burnt or buried, because of greenhouse gas emissions, and air and water pollution once the paper decomposes at landfills.

However, high costs of scrap paper treatment and environmental pollution settlement are not the only negative consequences for the country.

In order to obtain enough materials for paper production, enterprises, which cannot rely on domestic scrap paper sources, will try to make paper from wood, bamboo and jute.

Vietnam would have to reserve more land to develop material areas, while enterprises would have to increase investment in making materials, and pollution would increase as factories make paper from these kinds of materials.

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