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Trading scraps for groceries

Update: October, 25/2021 - 08:55
The programme aims to bring quality fresh produce to people, promote environmental protection and reduce the burden of having to look for clean and safe groceries in the pandemic. — Photo dantri.com.vn

HÀ NỘI – As a means to promote environmental protection while supporting the community through the pandemic, grocery stalls in Văn Miếu Ward, Đống Đa District, Hà Nội are letting people trade scraps for food. Perhaps a sign of the times, these stalls are now present in multiple locations in the city and attract many people.

Nguyễn Thị Thanh has regularly collected scraps to trade ever since she heard about the scheme. Sorting them in advance makes the process quicker, she said. The stall staff will then weigh what she brought in and give her a 'voucher', which she can use to shop for produce at the stall.

“The products here are restocked every day so they are very fresh and delicious. In the difficult time of the pandemic, this model has not only helped people buying food but also farmers selling produce”, said Thanh.

For Nguyễn Thị Minh, who lives in Đống Đa District, this programme has helped her make ends meet. At the moment she goes out to collect scraps every day before going to the stall in the late afternoon to buy ingredients for dinner.

“A few cardboard boxes could be exchanged for some vegetables and meats. I’m very happy. During the pandemic, it’s hard to find a scrap collecting point that is open these days”, Minh said.

The programme started on September 22, to support the community during the pandemic and spread the message of protecting the environment. — Photo dantri.com.vn

Trần Ngọc Tuấn, a store manager, said the programme has gone into action since September 22, aiming to support the community during the pandemic and spread the message of protecting the environment.

“These types of grocery stalls have been well-received since the early days. There were unforgettable cases: workers, motorbike taxi drivers, freelancers, the pandemic has been difficult for everyone, so they would bring any scraps they collected here to exchange for groceries. We also offer more for the elderly and children,” Tuấn said.

Staff weigh scraps brought in and give customers 'vouchers' which can be used to shop for produce at the stall. — Photo dantri.com.vn

The stall is open from 6 am to 6 pm. As well as the scrap price, a traditional price list is also available for people to shop as usual.

On average around 100 to 150 kilograms of scraps are traded in every day, and up to 200 kilograms on some days, all of which will be collected, sorted and sent for recycling. The model will be expanded to schools across the country, trading in scraps for milk and school supplies.

“Solid waste is recyclable, yet quite difficult to sell in small amounts, returning no value while also causing pollution. The pandemic also poses great challenges to scrap collecting points. Many households have scraps stacked up and no collectors to sell to, which is a significant nuisance for their daily life", said Vũ Hoài Nam, representative of the programme organiser. “That is why we organise trading scraps for groceries’, to protect the environment. ”

The programme also aims to bring quality fresh produce to people, reducing the burden of having to look for clean and safe groceries in the pandemic.

“Stock at the trading counters are carefully selected and transparent in origin. The products must be quality, fresh, checked and meet VietGAP (Vietnamese Good Agricultural Practices) standards, with food safety guaranteed and no preservatives or chemicals. The stalls also offer a wide range of groceries including meat, fish vegetables, seafood, for everyone’s convenience”, said Nam. — VNS

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