Lower House wants clarification from the State Secretary about dumped plastic

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A majority of the House of Representatives is seriously concerned about the way in which the Netherlands is dealing with its plastic waste. Various parliamentarians from both government and opposition parties want clarification from State Secretary Stientje van Veldhoven (Environment, D66) about the export and dumping of Dutch plastic in Turkey.

It is prohibited to transport non-recyclable plastic outside the EU, but research continues NRC and journalist collective Lighthouse Reports shows that Dutch plastic waste ends up in Turkey, on landfills and illegal landfills. The export of Dutch plastic waste to Turkey has increased sixfold in the last two years.

VVD MP Erik Ziengs is “really devastated” by the situation, he responds. Ziengs thought the major dumping practices were over after China closed its borders to Western waste in 2018. “We are proud that we are ahead of the circular economy. When I read that all kinds of Dutch plastic packaging is swabbing around in Turkey, you feel ashamed. ” He announced that he was going to put questions to the State Secretary.

What is the role of the inspectorate?

The ruling party CDA is also concerned. “The revelations about Dutch packaging in Turkey have opened my eyes,” said Member of Parliament Maurits von Martels. “This situation raises many questions. Obviously something is wrong here. What role does the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate have? Is everything going according to the rules here? ”

Also readThe investigation into Dutch plastic waste in Turkey

GroenLinks especially questions supervision. “Our environmental policy is as good as it is being enforced,” says Suzanne Kröger on behalf of the opposition party. According to the parliamentarian, the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate (ILT) has a crucial role in enforcement, but they are not well able to do so. “The inspectorate has an infinite number of tasks, but we do not equip them properly, too many cuts have been made. The result is that we do not have the streams of plastic waste on our radar. ”

Dutch plastic waste at the landfill in Turkey.
Foto Lighthouse Reports

‘Zero supervision and zero insight’

Supervision is also an Achilles heel according to the SP. “The inspectorate has zero supervision and zero insight,” says Cem Lacin. “We often address the State Secretary about this. Too much market, too little government, but it tends to give companies opportunities first with all kinds of covenants and letters of intent. Waste has become a revenue model.

According to Roy van Aalst (PVV), the fact that Dutch plastic is being dumped in Turkey shows that State Secretary Van Veldhoven “has once again lost control of the waste file”.

Food manufacturers cannot hide behind waste processors and middlemen if their plastic is in a landfill in Turkey, says Jessica van Eijs of D66. “That is the very essence of producer responsibility, then it is your business.” According to Van Eijs, this concerns a system problem. “We produce far too much plastic. We should require producers to make some of their packaging from recycled plastic. In this way we also create a market for recycling companies. ”

‘Stop foil chip bags’

In addition, according to Van Eijs, producers should be encouraged to only make packaging that is reusable instead of the many plastics that cause problems for waste processors. “You hardly see any bags that are recyclable between all the crisp bags in the supermarkets. All foil bags are now incinerated. We have to stop such packaging. ”

The stream of household waste is reasonably regulated, says VVD member Ziengs, but far less strict rules apply to the stream of ‘industrial waste’. For some time now, the VVD has been considering how this stream of waste can be better regulated. “Everything that ends up in the trash can in the House of Representatives or on the train is formally industrial waste. That’s crazy. I don’t have a ready-made solution, but it is clear to me that we must try to get a better grip on this industrial waste stream. ”





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