Community Competitions to Reduce Waste are a Success

Ever been to a waste fashion show? On July 18 community members in Binh An commune, Thanh My Loi ward, and Phu My town (near HCMC) got to show off some creative outfits at the closing ceremonies of a month-long waste reduction campaign sponsored by IUCN VN and Holcim Vietnam Ltd. (HVL). Some of the fashion stand-outs included a dress covered in recyclable plastic bottles, a skirt made from leaves and other organic material, and a jacket with red crosses, symbolizing medical waste.

Teenagers model the latest in waste fashion.

The “Waste Management and Environmental Awareness” public awareness campaign provided an opportunity for people of all ages to take action to improve waste classification and collection at home and in their communities.

Before the campaign began 300 villagers, HVL employees and family members, and local authorities participated in trainings to better understand what can be recycled, what should be composted, and what forms of waste need special disposal. These trainees agreed to take the lead in communication during the campaign. At the opening ceremonies on June 5-6 local authorities and village leaders encouraged everyone in the communities to participate in the campaign – either as group members or supporters.

The focus of the month-long campaign was a competition between groups within each of the three communities. Each village was divided into three groups and each household within these groups was given two baskets – one for organic waste and one for recyclable materials. Each week, members of the Summer Campaign Steering Committee monitored and evaluated the groups’ progress in reducing waste. The groups were judged on appropriate waste classification, home-to-village clean ups, and organized discussions about connections between reducing waste and protecting the environment.

This month of activities culminated with a final evening of contests and celebration. The groups competed in waste fashion shows, mock game show question and answer sessions, and performed skits displaying their knowledge about waste classification and reduction. The closing ceremonies attracted media attention from provincial and district levels. Representatives from the Department of Culture and Information and the Department of Natural Resources and Environment were in attendance. The group that won first prize received 1.5 million VND, second prize 1.2 million VND, third prize 1 million VND.

Ms. Mai, deputy head of the Hon Chong village, said, “This is the first time the commune has organized a big event like this,” and she thought the competition was a good way to get people involved. Mr. Nhu, the head of Tan Phu village, Phu My town, said, “The campaign was very interesting. We are looking forward to the campaign on water resource management next summer.”

HVL is working with IUCN VN to plan three more summer public awareness raising campaigns in these communities that surround their national operational sites. Future campaigns will focus on water sanitation and efficient water use; energy efficiency linked to climate change mitigation and adaptation; and habitat conservation for human and natural wellbeing. HVL employs about 1500 people in Vietnam, and community outreach is part of their environmental and social responsibility mission.

For more information, please contact Ms. Nguyen Thi Thuy Anh at

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