State Secretary Mansveld aims to halve waste

Wilma Mansveld, State Secretary for Infrastructure and the Environment aims to halve the amount of dumped and incinerated waste. “Waste is valuable. Throwing it away is no longer an option. Waste can serve as a raw material for another product,” according to Ms Mansveld. Currently, some 10 million tons of waste are burned or dumped every year. The State Secretary aims to reduce this to 5 million tons over the next ten years.

Ms Mansveld announced this target in a letter she sent to the House of Representatives today. In the letter, she explains the From Waste to Raw Material programme (VANG). Through the VANG programme she aims, for example, to provide support for those leading the way, to reduce the waste mountain and to stimulate the smart production of goods so that after use they can be easily broken down and reused. In this way, the State Secretary wants to work towards minimising the use of natural resources. The priority in this programme is collaboration between the business community and municipalities.

“I want products to be environmentally-friendly in design so that they last longer and can be reused more easily. In this way, we will use less of our natural resources,” explains Ms Mansveld. “The result of our efforts should be that in 2020, the Netherlands is the focal point of an economy in which virtually no waste is generated and raw materials are optimally used and reused.”

Good separation is better than recycling

In addition to sustainable consumption, recycling ensures less waste is generated. In order to improve recycling, it is important that waste is properly separated. The State Secretary’s aim is that 75 percent of household waste and waste from shops and offices will be separated by 2020. She will be working to achieve this target together with municipalities and the business community.

Currently, every week, each Dutch resident throws away five kilos of unseparated household waste. This amount could be reduced if the general public were better informed about the separation of waste. Municipalities can make waste separation easier for their residents, for example, by collecting more different types of waste.

The government itself is setting a good example by separating its waste better. The separation of waste is now a standard component of all new government waste collection contracts.

Support centre for entrepreneurs

The cabinet wants to stimulate those who are at the forefront in sustainability to take new directions towards a circular economy. To this end, these entrepreneurs should not encounter any unnecessary obstacles along the way. Ms Mansveld is therefore setting up a support centre to which entrepreneurs can turn for solutions to problems they encounter. The aim is, for all reported obstacles, to have improvements in motion by 2015. The Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment is involving the business community, the Inspectorates and licensing bodies in the support centre so that the right information will be available quickly.