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Give more support to entrepreneurs who want to reduce the use of fossil raw materials with new residual streams. This is one of the key recommendations from the End of Waste white paper presented at the No Time To Waste event on 17 April in The Hague, the Netherlands. The report commissioned by Green Chemistry, New Economy and Invest-NL maps out how to overcome the main hurdles around recycling.
Editorial office / The Hague

Maximising the recycling of materials has many advantages: it reduces the demand for virgin fossil raw materials, less waste needs to be disposed off and it is a big step towards a circular economy. Yet recyclers face a number of barriers when defining reuse options for new waste streams: they have to prove that the new applications have no health issues and they have to meet the requirements of the Environmental Management Act to obtain an ‘End-of-Waste Declaration’. This is particularly tricky because it is not always clear when you comply with the rules. As a result, important recycling options often go unused.

Focus on one specific product

To overcome the barriers, Green Chemistry, New Economy and Invest-NL asked Ecomatters, a leading sustainability consultancy, to investigate ways in which recycling can be given a significant boost in a safe way. The findings were presented to a room full of recyclers and policymakers on 17 April in The Hague. In the process, companies looking to use new residual streams were advised, among other things, to focus on developing clearly defined products when applying for the ‘End-of-Waste Declaration’. This will make it easier to demonstrate that the product is safe for health and the environment. It will also be easier to show that the product complies with existing regulations and technical specifications for similar products.

Help entrepreneurs through the regulatory jungle

There are also quick wins for policymakers: Set up a central point of contact that can advise entrepreneurs and pool recycling knowledge, and make clear exactly which rules an entrepreneur has to comply with in order to claim the ‘End-of-Waste Declaration’. It is also important to align Dutch regulations with European ones and agree on clear rules for plastics and biobased waste streams, for instance.

The findings, encapsulated in a report, were handed over during the meeting by Arnold Stokking (Green Chemistry, New Economy) and Rinke Zonneveld (Invest-NL) to Jeannette Baljeu (member of the Zuid-Holland Provincial Executive), Jacqueline Vaessen (figurehead ChemistryNL) and Hagar Ligtvoet (Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management).

Arnold Stokking: “Partly given the climate urgency, we cannot afford any delay in the raw materials transition. Green Chemistry, New Economy hopes that with the advice from this report a number of important barriers will be removed.”

Jeannette Baljeu: “The utilisation of secondary raw materials is of great importance for a circular economy. In this respect, it is important that we apply the end-of-waste criteria in a uniform manner. The province is therefore committed to providing good information and removing ambiguities in regulations.”

For more information, visit the Green Chemistry, New Economy (GCNE) website (Dutch).