Police in Vietnam Seize a Cache of 320K Recycled Condoms

Source - Police in Vietnam said they found about 320,000 recycled used condoms that were being repackaged as new, local media reported on Thursday, according to the Associated Press. 

Market inspectors in the Binh Duong province raided a factory near Ho Chi Minh City, where they discovered used condoms being repackaged to be sold at the market. An inspector said the factory's 34-year-old owner, a woman, confessed they purchased the condoms from someone else, the state-owned Tuoi Tre newspaper reported, according to the AP.   

After buying the condoms from a man, they were washed and reshaped, then packed in plastic bags, according to the newspaper. 

Video taken by Vietnam's state broadcaster VTV and obtained by the Reuters news agency shows sacks filled with condoms. It also shows tools apparently used to wash and reshape the condoms in the factory. 

VTV said it was unclear how many used condoms were already resold, according to Reuters.

A health official quoted by Tuoi Tre newspaper said the condoms were an extreme health risk to users, the AP reported. 

I'll say right up front that I'm not a condom consumer. I've been out of the Jimmy Hat market for a long time so maybe I'm not the one to weigh in on this. Today is my 27th wedding anniversary. Which means my method of responsible sex is the oldest and most reliable ever invented: Total abstinence.  Maybe you young adults who are actively involved in the purchase and usage of Birth Patrol might feel differently, but here's my take.

Is this really so bad? I mean, to the point that it becomes a police matter? 

Call me an out of touch old who doesn't understand the stakes here, and you might not be wrong. But it seems to me that if the Ho Chi Minh City Condom Refurbishing Plant uses the right methods, there could be a lot of benefits to this. Handled properly, this could be a real boon to the environment, to population control, disease prevention and to the economy. 

After all, what's more important than recycling? Our oceans are filled with tons of discarded plastic and other non-biogradeable materials. I shudder to think how many single use condoms there are floating around out there, choking sea turtles and ending up in the blow holes of our majestic whale friends. Imagine if science could find a way to repurpose them to be used over, and over again? It would do wonders for Gaia Mother Earth. While at the same time not creating unwanted human mothers. 

And that's another thing. Reusable rubbers would bring the cost down, make safe sex more available for those at the lower end of the economic strata, and encourage more use. In that way that I've found a place that sells restored Titleist Pro-V1s that are good as new for half the price, so I don't mind going through them nearly as much. You can even imagine a world where you reuse your favorite condoms over and over. Maybe even have some you consider your lucky one or special occasion one. That's win/win/win the way I see it.

Finally, think of what condom recycling can do in terms of creating a whole supply chain, which employs more and more people. The woman who owns and operates this place found people willing to round up 320,000 soiled rubbers for a fee. That is a great example of the entrepreneurial spirit in action. The marketplace seeing a need and finding a way to fill it. 

Maybe it's not legal yet. Perhaps the washing, forming and repackaging of these semen-filled balloons was not done properly. Possibly we need the technology to catch up. But you can't deny this young business woman is onto something.