Circular economy

Containers for the separation of waste plastic and glass

In a circular economy raw materials are reused, preventing waste and emissions as much as possible. Plastic bottles finishing up in residual waste and broken telephones that cannot be dismantled do not occur in a circular economy, because raw materials are reused as much as possible.

The Netherlands Circular in 2050

The Netherlands must become a circular economy before 2050, according to the Cabinet. That is why it wants to amend laws and regulations that now hamper the transition to a circular economy. The reuse of liquid cartons has been made easier for companies, for instance. In its programme "The Netherlands Circular in 2015" the Cabinet identifies five priorities, including biomass and food. For instance, the Cabinet intends to tackle food wastage and to reuse "residual streams" from the farming sector, such as beet pulp, as a raw material for something new.

From Waste to Resources

As part of the "From Waste to Resources" programme (VANG) the Cabinet has made arrangements with municipalities and businesses about the collection and processing of  household waste. The aim is a reduction of the amount of residual waste to 100 kilos per person per year in 2020. In the period from 2012-2014 the amount already decreased from 255 kilos to 238 kilos per resident. In the same period, the amount of waste material ending up in the incinerator decreased from 9.2 to 7.9 megatons. Meanwhile, the VANG programme targets have been included in the programme "The Netherlands Circular in 2050".

Packaging materials

Many plastic bottles, cans and other packaging materials end up in residual waste or litter. In order to tackle this, the Cabinet made arrangements, in 2013, with municipalities and packaging suppliers. As we speak, over 80% of the municipalities enable their residents to separate liquid cartons from residual waste. Recycling of plastic packaging, such as plastic bottles, almost doubled in six years time. As a result of the introduction of the ban on free plastic bags in early 2016 80% of the consumers now say they always bring their own bag.


In 2014, in the Netherlands 79% of all glass packaging landed in the glass container. Although this means that the European target of 60% is being met, this is not sufficient to meet the Dutch target of 90% glass recycling. That is why the Packaging Waste Fund (Stichting Afvalfonds Verpakkingen) is drawing up an action plan in order for the Netherlands to meet the recycle standard in 2018. Recycled glass will be used as a raw material for new glass packaging.

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