Research 'Plastic raw materials for recycling in the Netherlands'

2 minutes

A recently conducted study called "Plastic Raw Materials for Recycling in the Netherlands," presented today to Focco Vijselaar, CEO of VNO-NCW, highlights the Netherlands' leading position in Europe in terms of resource recycling. By leveraging the chemical, plastics and waste industries, our country places itself at the forefront of achieving the same for plastics. The comprehensive study by KPMG highlights this outlook.

Dutch industry is striving to shift from virgin plastics to circular raw materials derived from plastic waste and bio-based materials for the production of new plastics. This shift offers significant climate benefits, ranging from reducing plastic incineration to reducing the use of fossil resources in production. Nevertheless, such transitions are hampered by several challenges. KPMG's research minutely analyzes the supply and projected demand for plastic waste destined for recycling. It then outlines policy options that could establish a closed-loop system aimed at optimizing plastic recycling. Last but not least, plastic waste proves to be a crucial alternative to fossil oil-based resources, highlighting the need for sufficient availability.

KPMG research highlights an approaching gap between expected demand for plastic waste and actual supply in the coming years. Driven by new European and national legislation mandating the use of recycled materials in new products, the Dutch chemical and plastics industries are preparing for these regulations. Concrete plans for multi-million investments in chemical recycling facilities indicate a potential doubling of plastic waste recycling capacity to more than 2,200 kilotons by 2030. While this development is promising, KPMG predicts that the availability (supply) of plastic waste will stagnate around 1,000 kilotons by 2030. This requires additional measures to bridge this gap and ensure that Dutch industry meets European targets for climate-neutral production and a circular plastic chain.

To boost plastic recycling in the Netherlands and Europe, KPMG proposes several policy options in which the government can facilitate the necessary conditions. These measures include improving cooperation between industry sectors and implementing strategies for improved pre- and post-sorting of collected plastic waste. This effort aims to prevent 70% of the 1,698 kilotons of plastic waste collected annually in the Netherlands from being incinerated as is currently the case. In addition to this untapped potential in household waste, there remains considerable scope for recovering plastic from commercial and industrial waste streams. Even with strategic interventions, however, there will still be a significant need for circular raw materials from other parts of Europe. According to KPMG, the Netherlands should advocate for a level playing field that makes it easier to ship plastic waste within Europe and urgently address barriers that currently impede the use of plastic waste as a renewable resource. The report's authors state, "Otherwise, plastic waste recycling in Europe may not make the desired progress. Achieving a fully circular supply chain in Europe requires close cooperation at the European level in recycling."

Focco Vijselaar, CEO of VNO-NCW, commented, "This research marks a crucial step by waste processors, the chemical industry and the plastics sector towards green plastic. By mass recycling plastics and adopting methods such as chemical recycling, Europe will reduce its dependence on various fossil resources worldwide. Moreover, these innovations will move us forward and ensure the continued competitiveness of our manufacturing industry. This offers the best guarantee for well-paying green jobs with reduced impact on the world and the environment in which people live and recreate."

Marc Spekreijse, Circular Plastics director added, "The research results highlight the importance of the CPNL program. We in the Netherlands need to cooperate with Europe to invest in upscaling and innovation. Mechanical recycling remains of great importance, but is not suitable for all material streams. Innovations in chemical recycling also deserve attention and investment. By making progress on both technologies, the required capacity and process efficiency can be achieved."

The study "Plastics Feedstocks for Recycling" was commissioned by the Dutch Waste Management Association (VA), the Association of the Dutch Chemical Industry (VNCI), Plastics Europe Netherlands and the Acceleration Table for Chemical Recycling.

Read the full report here (in English)

or the Dutch summary

or watch the webinar in which the key findings of the study were presented by KPMG on December 14, 2023.


Check out our knowledge page to learn more about circularity and plastics.




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