Future Dutch waste policy: priorities and leverage points

The Netherlands� new National Waste Management Plan is to focus more on the environmental impacts of the entire supply chains of wastes and waste products. In this study this lifecycle environmental impact was assessed for the main categories of waste, from raw materials production all the way through to waste disposal. Besides a series of waste streams traditionally ad-dressed by waste policy, in this lifecycle approach there also emerge streams associated with high energy consumption in the use phase (end-of-life cars and tyres and gas discharge lamps). Other streams scoring high are those with a relatively high environmental impact in the production phase (animal, textile and metals waste), generally independent of the environmental weight-ing method employed. On the basis of several different rankings, a number of priority waste streams were identified that merit additional focus in drawing up the new Waste Man-agement Plan. This does not necessarily mean modification of current waste disposal methods, because this study did not consider the cost effectiveness of disposal methods or alternative courses of action. As is to be expected in a lifecycle approach, the scope for government leverage is partly beyond the traditional remit of waste policy. At the same time, though, there are clearly synergies between the waste phase and the rest of the lifecycle, as embodied in �design-for-recycling� and greater focus on materials selection when design-ing energy-efficiency measures. Some of these leverage points can be elabo-rated in the Netherlands� new waste policy, while others are already being exploited in other policy areas. This is an exploratory study and the results are not suitable for detailed analy-ses or conclusions. The Environment ministry, VROM, for which the report was prepared, sees it more as an initial step in further elaboration of the coun-try�s waste policy.