Dutch producers reduce waste of raw materials

25/11/2016 15:00
Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports that the use of raw materials in the Dutch economy was reduced by 14 percent in the period 2004-2014. Production has developed towards a so-called circular economy, but the ‘footprint’ of the Netherlands has risen slightly between 2010 and 2014. This means that the volume of raw materials used to meet the needs of Dutch consumers has grown. Consumer goods imported into the Netherlands have been taken into account.
The Dutch government aims to reduce the use of raw materials by half in 2030 and to achieve a completely circular economy by the year 2050. The economy would then run on recoverable raw materials and there would be no need for ‘new’ raw materials. Currently, there is no coordinated national or international system to monitor the circular economy, although CBS has already developed various indicators to evaluate the circular economy, e.g. the use of raw materials, the footprint caused by the use of raw materials and waste treatment. For more recent parts of the circular economy, like the sharing economy, statistics are not available. The introduction of websites and apps, like Marktplaats, Airbnb and Peerby has made it easier to share and recycle goods.

Use of raw materials in the Netherlands

Households spend more on repairs and second-hand goods

In some areas, the Netherlands has already realised circular economy solutions. In most sectors of industry, for example, recyclable materials are used in the production process. Relative to 1996, Dutch households also spent 52 percent more in 2014 on repairs (cars and other goods) and thrift shops have doubled their turnover during the past decade. The amount of waste per kg of manufactured product has also diminished between 2008 and 2014. Compared to other European countries, a lot of waste (80 percent) is being recycled in the Netherlands, but this percentage has not grown since 2000.

Household spending on repairs

38 percent of food wasted in the Netherlands

In other areas, however, the Dutch economy is still not very circular. The amount of household belongings is increasing and the manufacture requires more raw materials. A lot of food is thrown away in the Netherlands - more than 2.5 kg per capita each week - 38 percent of all food is wasted: avoidable loss of food still fit for consumption. Additionally, the chemical industry still heavily depends on fossil raw materials instead of biomass. With respect to the use of raw materials, most production processes have not gained in efficiency between 2008 and 2014.