Plastic use and plastic waste processing in the Netherlands

Greenpeace-Netherlands asked CE Delft to assess the following issues concerning plastic (waste) streams in the Netherlands:

  • the volume of plastics marketed annually in the Netherlands
  • the amount of Dutch plastic waste processed annually, focusing particularly on plastic packaging
  • Dutch and European regulations relating to plastic waste
  • problems associated with processing plastics waste.

In 2017 approximately 1,900 kt plastics came onto the Dutch market, with around 1,650 kt plastic waste being processed. This waste included around 512 kt plastic packaging, of which about 243 kt (47.5%) was recycled in 2017.

The analysis identified the following problems with respect to the processing of Dutch plastic waste:

  1. Some of the plastics end up as litter, contributing ultimately to the ‘plastic soup’.
  2. Some of the plastic waste collected is incinerated rather than recycled, thus generating CO2 emissions.
  3. For part of the waste plastic a good picture of processing is lacking.