Amsterdam city council is to make another attempt to sell its waste reprocessing plant AEB, including the waste separation unit which councillors had wanted to keep.
The AEB will be put up for sale in 2024, and if a new owner is found, it will end a five year period of problems for city officials. This summer, the Dutch competition authority ACM refused to sanction a sale to Rotterdam peer AVR.
The anti-cartel body said the €450 million takeover by the Chinese-owned Rotterdam firm would distort competition. At the time, the city’s executive board decided to seek a new buyer but said it would keep the unit used to separate recyclable waste.
The sorting unit can separate 250,000 tonnes of domestic waste a year. However, Amsterdam has a poor record for recycling nationwide. Just 33% of household waste was separated last year, down from 34% in 2021 and half the national figure.
For example, Amsterdam households no longer separate plastic waste because, officials say, the separation plant can do a better job.
Officials now say that it will be impossible to keep the separation plant under council ownership because it will require its own environmental permits. And the likelihood of that being granted is zero “given the current impasse over nitrogen-based pollution”, city hall executives say.
In addition, there are questions about whether or not the plan contributes to the council’s aim of improving recycling rates, the officials said.
The plant, on the edge of the city, also controversially imports waste from Rome and Britain to burn.
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