The Youth of Vietnam React to the Condom Recycling Ring Bust

And it’s GOLD

Originally published here:

Translated this says something along the lines of: “look at the tattoo! I’ve been in and out. you weak ass pink, you lumpy green. you guys don’t have the right to be arrogant” Illustration by Dad courtesy of Tuoi Tre

Did You Hear About This in the News?

Maybe you skimmed past it thinking it was some sort of joke. Perhaps you thought it was the more traditional, legitimate kind of recycling, and hey recycling, that’s a good thing whats all the fuss about?

But wait, It’s not recycling as you know it.

Think about it…

You can read the entire public thread here

Oh, Vietnam, you get so much shit for your plastic problems, and yet here you are being so incredibly enterprising that I have some sort of weird misled congratulatory pride.

The Vietnamese are masters of reusing and upcycling, I am a fierce defender of that very fact, I would go so far to say that the rest of the world could learn a thing or two from their resourcefulness.

You can read the entire public thread here

And yet here we are Vietnam, hitting the International news for recycling and it’s all wrong, it’s for all the wrong reasons again damn it.

What has been fascinating (apart from the story itself) and also pretty hilarious, is how Vietnam has responded, especially the younger generation.

So allow me to share the full unabridged story with added commentary from one of my favourite threads.

You can read the entire public thread here

The Condom Recycling Ring Mastermind

The owner of the facility Pham Thi Thanh Ngoc, from Nghe An Province, which is in the North.

Note how it’s always important to mention the province to show she is not from the South, she is indeed an interloper!

Let’s abbreviate her name to Pham.
Pham, a shrewd businesswoman with a passion for sustainability admitted that her monthly contribution of condoms comes from an anonymous supplier.

You can read the entire public thread here

It’s shrouded in mystery, no one knows the precise details of where they are all coming from.

Either this is an extremely sexually active donor, or as others have suggested it’s entirely possible there are whole teams of condom clean up squads, taking this litter off the streets.

Collectors rummaging through our bins, fishing them out of toilets, pulling them out of the river (already partially cleaned — bonus) and scouring the streets for this unlikely, latex treasure.

You can read the entire public thread here

Some good advice on how you can counteract this from happening in the future. Puncture, cut in half, umm…

What? They sew them back up too; how does no one notice that?

You can read the entire public thread here

Sterile Process

To be clear Pham takes this job pretty seriously and the condoms go through an extensive sterilisation process which includes numerous precautionary measures.

You can read the entire public thread here

Here is the meticulous decontamination system she uses:

  • Boiling them
  • Drying them
  • Reshaping on a giant wooden dildo
Image from VTV video report.

As you can see, there are no hygiene concerns here at all, which is great news; and completely understandable as a detail-driven businesswoman.

Pham takes a great deal of pride in her work and a big part of this is because of the solid living wage she earns, which is $0.17 for every single kilogramme.

The police uncovered approx 360kg

Let’s calculate that 360kg x $0.17 = $61.20


This crime is clearly motivated by greed.

You can read the entire public thread here

324,000 Used Condoms

That is a lot — 324,000 condoms painstakingly cleaned, reshaped, and unappreciated by most.

All ready to be packaged up and taken off to be sold on places like Condom Street, (yes there is a street) and who knows where else.

Photo from VTV video report.

Then up rock the bloody police, I have noticed the word ‘swoop’ being used a lot; let’s change that for dramatic effect; in swoop, the police, confiscate all the booty, and Pham’s extravagant lifestyle of greed and opulence is no more. Yes, that’s better.

They spoiled everything.

Pham is a trailblazer, an entrepreneur, playing her part in being more responsible and environmentally sustainable. She is leading the way and she has singlehandedly contributed a huge amount to recycling where others haven’t even begun to try.

What Will Happen to Pham?

Pham has made no further comments on the manufacturing operation, but I feel confident that a businesswoman of her standing; with vision, ideas, and passion for the environment will bounce back in no time.

For extra authenticity, in Vietnam, it should also be noted that it is important to use the full address of wherever the crime took place in an article such as this. (often accompanied with photos of the criminal and location to make them extra easy to find)

I suppose if you are an angry mob that would like to go out and do some mobbing, look for the criminals, location, remnants or burn the place down and such like, this sort of thing is very useful.

So here is the address:

DX12, Hoa Nhut Quarter, Tan Vinh Hiep Ward, Binh Duong, Southern Vietnam.

Some final thoughts on the incident from Tuoi Tre with excellent translation courtesy of google.

You can see the full article and comments here


In all seriousness, please practise safe sex, do not buy condoms from some random back street, or condom street Saigon friends. No, it’s not ok to rinse them out and use them again, and yes, I do genuinely feel awful for Pham having to do such a disgusting job for such a pittance and then getting busted.

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