Slightly less industrial waste

Dutch industry generated 20.2 million tons of industrial waste in 2002, 3 percent les than in 2001. Eighty-three percent of this waste is recycled, the remainder ends up on dumping sites (7 percent) and in waste incineration plants (8 percent).

Industrial waste, 2002

Separation of industrial waste

Companies separate 95 percent of their industrial waste into various components. The other 5 percent is not separated. Separated waste mostly goes on to be recycled. Half of the waste is organic, just over one-third is inorganic. The remainder of separated waste consists of sludge- like substances and non-reported hazardous waste.

Composition of industrial waste

One-third of industrial waste is made up of plant material, mostly remains of soya bean processing, sugar beet pulp, brewing trub and yeast. There are also considerable amounts of animal material, slag, fly and ground ash, sand/clay and lightly polluted soil.

Composition of industrial waste, 2002


Nearly three-quarters of total industrial waste is generated by the food and drinks industry, the basic metal industry and public utilities. The percentage of waste from these sectors that is re-used is far above the average, at 90 percent. Waste from the food and drinks industry accounts for nearly half of all industrial waste, at 9.6 million tons. Most of this waste is used in agriculture as cattle feed and fertiliser.

The public utilities sector has the highest rate of recycled waste: 98 percent. The main waste products re-used are ground ash, fly ash and gypsum used for desulphurisation in coal-fired electricity plants. Most of these substances are used in road construction and in the cement and gypsum industry. In the metal industry, waste slag is re-used by the cement industry and in civil engineering.

Re-use of industrial waste by sector of industry

In some sectors of industry recycling is relatively uncommon. Waste products from mineral extraction (drilling waste) are often unsuitable for recycling. Most of them are dumped. Waste from the production of wood and paper products is relatively often incinerated.

René Jolly

Source: StatLine (Dutch only)