State Secretary Van Veldhoven launches new campaign to combat packaging waste

Along with manufacturers, State Secretary Van Veldhoven (Environment) is launching a new campaign to combat packaging waste, as she informed the House of Representatives today. The campaign is aimed at reducing the use of packaging, promoting the re-use of packaging, and enhancing the quality of collection and recycling processes.

One step further than European regulations

Ms Van Veldhoven is implementing the European regulations and taking them one step further, in collaboration with the packaging industry in the Netherlands. In addition to the implementation of the European recycling targets, she has set down agreements with the packaging sector regarding specific circular targets for the period up to and including 2025, comprising re-use in addition to recycling. The Netherlands is the first country in Europe to set down circular objectives in this manner.

Ms Van Veldhoven: “Recycling is good, re-use is even better. From an international perspective, the Dutch packaging sector ranks among the leaders in the more efficient use of materials and cutting down of CO2 emissions. This deserves a compliment. Together we are working towards a clean, green future.”

Cees de Mol van Otterloo, Director of Afvalfonds Verpakkingen [Packaging Waste Fund]: “In the Netherlands, we are already achieving excellent recycling results. The new recycling targets mark a new point on the horizon, on the road towards a circular economy for packaging.”

From recycling to re-use

The new agreements pertain to recycling and re-use of glass, plastics, paper and cartons, metal, and wood. The EU recycling target for all packaging combined is 70% by 2030. The Netherlands will already be achieving this target by 2021 and is raising the bar. By 2025, 74% of all packaging materials in the Netherlands must be recycled and/or re-used. One of the measures to achieve this goal is simplifying waste separation for residents. With the exceptions of glass and wastepaper, in the near future all the empty packaging must be deposited in the PMD (Plastics, Metal, and Drinks Cartons) bin. The collection of glass beer bottles is and remains a voluntary system. Recent years have seen an increase in the production of disposable beer bottles. The incorporation of re-use into the regulations will encourage manufacturers to retain and expand the deposit system for such bottles.

The Netherlands takes the lead in Europe

As yet, the Netherlands is the only country in Europe to have set down agreements on ambitious circular targets, in addition to recycling targets, in collaboration with the packaging industry. The Dutch circular targets and the European recycling targets will be embedded in law and implemented with effect from 2021. By 2025, the results of the two targets will be assessed. Ms Van Veldhoven: “We are making good progress in the Netherlands, but our aim is for all packaging to be recycled, and we want to encourage manufacturers to convert to re-use. With these circular targets, we are taking a substantial step in the right direction, towards a clean, green circular economy.”