The Netherlands is a major exporter of scrap metal – 150 lorry loads a day


The Netherlands sends the equivalent of 150 lorry loads of scrap metal to non-EU countries for recycling every day, the NRC said on Wednesday.

The scrap is sent to other countries for reprocessing, often to countries where environmental rules are less stringent than in the EU, the paper said.

In addition, the Netherlands imports thousands of tonnes of scrap from other countries, mainly Germany and Belgium, much of which is then re-exported, the NRC said.

Some 80% of scrap metal collected in the Netherlands is processed by Turkey.  China is another export destination, as is India.

Processing scrap outside the EU is cheaper, particularly if shipping is involved. One recycling company told the NRC it costs €1,250 to €2,000 to send a container of scrap to the Czech Republic or Poland, but just €850 to ship it from Rotterdam to China by sea.

In addition, processing scrap in the Netherlands would add to CO2 emissions, but this is not the case if the metal waste is exported abroad.

‘The Netherlands, a world champion when it comes to recycling?’ researcher Joppe van Driel  told the paper. ‘We are exporting our waste and our climate problems.’

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