Recycling in the Netherlands
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- the biodegradable waste "GFT" ("Groente Fruit en Tuinafval") box or Green bin - nearly almost all municipalities except some quarters of major cities.
- Red box - household chemicals, batteries, TL, etc. - most cities.
- paper collection (generally without boxes, population is expected to provide carton boxed packages). May be collected through local organisations such as sports groups.
- White bag - clothing.
- Blue box - plastics - some municipalities.
Municipality Recycling facilities
All municipalities are required to provide known collection points for recyclable and/or hazardous materials. All types of separated trash can be accepted here for free or a small sum depending on type of material (green stuff and concrete/bricks is usually free). Some stores perform collection of chemicals (paint, batteries). There are a great number of second-hand shops (run by charity organisations) that accept goods for processing, although technically, this is re-use.
Facts and figures
Landfills are used for less than 10% of all waste. Dutch household waste recycling averages to 60% (2006).
- Compost (2003):
The separately gathered organic fraction is 50% of household waste, or 1500 kilotonnes. This is processed to 600 kilotonnes of compost, and the end-product partially exported while over annual national consumption.
- Paper (2005):
In the Netherlands itself, the recycled amount in 2005 was up to 2.5 million tonnes, which is 75% of annual consumption. By contrast, in the EU, over 50% of paper is recycled.
The Dutch have a lot of experience in recycling, stimulated by lack of free grounds and significant government funding. This expertise is sensibly exported. A 2006 article reports Dutch involvement in reform of recycling in the UK.
National law concerning recycling is heavily influenced by EU regulations. Reforms may have great impact on national collection systems (for instance a downgrade of the recycling system is imaginable, when deposits on types of drink containers are lifted). Also, the environmental impact of industry is closely guarded by EU standards.
Deposit systems are in use for beer bottles, larger plastic bottles, and plastic crates for bottles. For these items, the deposit (or statiegeld) is returned by automated machines at supermarkets. A video of such a machine in use and returning the deposit is available on YouTube.
Gas bottles and household appliances are also covered by this (Although for these the money is never returned, it requires a shop owner to accept the discarded item it replaces, if handed in. The used term is "verwijderingsbijdrage" or "removal fee". Extra earnings from this system are spent on investments in the recycling industry).
The different types of recyclable materials collected include:
- All types of paper/paperboard (excluding plastics, metal fragments and organic contamination)
- Glass jars and bottles - by common collection points
- Compostable materials
- Plastics - Type 1 and 2 PETE
- Motor oil
- Tires - some re-treaded, some mixed with ashpalt for road resurfacing
- Metal cans - beverage and soup cans, although usually extracted from trash by separation techniques
- Beer bottles through deposit systems
- Plastic soda containers through deposit systems
- Ink cartridge
- All types of batteries
- Clothing and toys for second-hand use
- Construction timber
- Concrete and bricks used as roadfill, or grinded down and mixed as new
- Household appliances - may also be returned through shop when buying new products