On November 2, 2023, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE) of Vietnam published Draft Circular Amending and Supplementing the Circular No. 02/2022/TT-BTNMT on Implementation Rules for a Number of Articles of the Law on Environmental Protection 2020 (hereinafter referred to as “the Draft”) and invited opinions from the general public. The Draft proposes amendments to 11 out of the 85 articles of Circular 02/2022/TT-BTNMT and 36 out of the 114 application and other formats thereof. Main amendments relate to the procedures of applying for environmental licenses, the segregation method for municipal solid waste, and the format for reporting implementation of recycling under the extended producer responsibility (EPR) scheme.
Simplified application procedures for environmental licenses
In order to simplify administrative procedures, the Draft partially amends and reduces documents required for environmental license applications. Particularly, to align with amendments proposed in the Draft Decree Amending and Supplementing the Decree No. 08/2022/ND-CP Detailing a Number of Articles of Law on Environmental Protection 2020, which was publicized on October 20, 2023, some authority review requirements (e.g., projects not subject to review on changes in environmental impact assessment, reapplication for an environmental license, etc.) and mandatory site inspection will be omitted and its related documentation will not be required any longer. For details, see Article 1.9 of the proposed amendment to Decree 08/2022/ND-CP and Article 1.4 of the Draft (i.e., proposed amendment to Circular 02/2022/TT-BTNMT).
Clarification of how to separate solid wastes for daily living
Pursuant to Article 75, paragraph 1 of the Law on Environmental Protection of 2020 (72/2020/QH14), municipal solid waste are classified into the following three groups:
- Group 1: Reusable and recyclable waste
- Group 2: Food waste
- Group 3: Other municipal solid waste
For the Group 3 “other municipal solid waste” above, the Draft clarifies that the following three types of wastes are included in that group:
- Hazardous waste
- Bulky waste
- Other waste
*Upon the publication of the Draft, the MONRE promulgated the Technical Guidance on the Classification of Municipal Solid Waste through official document No. 9368/BTNMT-KSONMT. This guidance provides detailed rules for the classification of municipal solid waste.
In addition, the following provisions are added regarding the color of packaging for living solid waste
- For food waste, use green
- Use gray packaging for any waste that cannot be classified or correctly classified in accordance with the rules and “other municipal solid waste.”
Embodied reporting form for implementation of recycling responsibility
Pursuant to the EPR regulations set forth in Decree 08/2022/ND-CP, producers and importers of target products and packaging materials are obliged to recycle their products/packaging in accordance with either (1) or (2) below.
- Implementation of recycling
(a) Perform in-house recycling
(b) Outsource recycling to external recyclers
(c) Outsource recycling to a third-party intermediary, or
(d) Combine methods (a), (b) and/or (c) above
- Making contribution to the Vietnam Environmental Protection Fund (Producers and importers who choose to make contributions to the Fund will be exempted from the obligation to implement recycling.)
Producers/importers who choose (i) implementation of recycling above must develop a recycling plan for the current year and report the result of recycling performed in the previous year by March 31 of each year. However, concerns had been raised in response to this option (i) because Circular 01/2022/TT-BTNMT only prescribes only one recycling report format, even though three implementation methods (or a combination thereof), a, b, and c, can be chosen. Responding to this concern, the Draft proposes different reporting formats according to the implementation method of implementation of recycling responsibility.
The original text of the Draft can be downloaded from: