Exciting, Young Environment
Air pollution — and then the outbreak of COVID-19 — prompted Thanh to take a gamble on sourcing Vietnamese coffee waste material to turn it into masks.
His cutting edge design uses woven fiber made from coffee grounds to make a washable outer layer, with a biodegradable filter inside.
“I took a risk and hoped it would succeed,” he said, adding that there had been a surge in orders of his masks from Europe, the US and Japan since they launched in April.
A similar strain of environmental innovation courses through many other smaller start-ups in a country among the most vulnerable to climate change.
They exploit the high tech literacy of the population — 70 percent of which is under 35, according to the World Bank — to sell new products to a receptive market.
Bui Thi Minh Ngoc wanted to find a sustainable alternative to standard menstrual products, searching for months to find the right organic cloth for her sanitary pad business GreenLady Vietnam, which she operates largely on Facebook.
“In Vietnam, there are not many specializing in period products and reproductive health,” the 26-year-old said as she checked material samples at a tailor in Hanoi.