Ho Chi Minh City’s plastic ‘habit’ leaves piles of waste

Kieu Anh Tran heads down a small alley to her workshop in Ho Chi Minh City’s Binh Thanh District. Inside, her team is busy washing used plastic tarpaulins, cutting patterns, and sewing the discarded material into backpacks, tote bags, and wallets.

In Vietnam’s southern city and commercial hub, there is no official recycling system. Its population of more than 10 million produces about 9,500 tonnes of domestic rubbish every day, and if Tran did not repurpose the tarps once used for shop awnings and as truck covers, they too would be headed to the dump.

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Govi Snell