Netherlands in EU top three for recycling, says circular economy report

Plastic waste awaiting collection in Amstelveen. Photo:

The Netherlands is in Europe’s top three for recycling, according to the latest figures published by the Dutch statistics office.

A report on the ‘circular economy in the Netherlands’ – looking at the extent to which the country uses raw materials and recycles what it uses – shows that it is apparently improving.

In 2018 the country consumed around 20% less in materials than in 2000 – including goods that are used in production. On average, each resident used 10,000 kilos of materials in 2018 – however another 21,500 kilos per head were produced, intended for export.

The report says that the Netherlands’ material use ‘footprint’ is relatively low, partly because it is small and densely populated so less material is needed for infrastructure such as roads.

The Dutch produce more rubbish per head than the European norm, at 2,500 kilos in 2016, compared with an average 1,800 kilos – partly due to packaging from goods that are imported and then exported, according to the report.

However, it is third for recycling rates, after Luxemburg and Belgium – sending 1,698kg of rubbish for reuse per head in 2016, the most recent year for which there are comparative figures.

The government is aiming to build a ‘completely’ circular economy by 2050, in which material is used sparingly, products are designed with reuse in mind and everything possible is recycled.

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