Edited by Thomas C. Kinnaman and Kenji Takeuchi
The Netherlands recycles 32 percent and composts 27 percent of its municipal waste - and most of the remainder is incinerated to generate electricity. Lack of space and a growing environmental awareness forced Dutch governments to take measures early on in the 1980s to reduce the landfilling of unsorted waste and to stimulate recycling. Later on, these measures were intensified (see Dijkgraaf 2004). Compared with EU countries with an average of 40 percent of municipal waste recycled and composted, the Dutch percentage is high (see Eurostat 2010). Dutch municipalities are responsible for waste collection and separation (Wet Milieubeheer, art. 10.21). By law, Dutch municipalities are obliged to collect two types of waste at the curbside: compostable waste such as vegetable, food and garden waste and unsorted waste. The frequency is such that every municipality collects unsorted and compostable waste in general every week or every two weeks. Since January 1994, compostable waste has been collected at the curbside; this was an important measure in increasing the amount of compostable waste. Municipalities are also obliged to collect separately paper, glass, textiles, plastic packaging, small chemical waste and bulky household waste (such as waste resulting from renovation of houses and gardens). Nevertheless, municipalities may choose how these materials are collected. Therefore, often they are not collected at the curbside, but citizens can deliver them to collection points at central locations. The way citizens pay for waste collection differs by municipality. Most Dutch municipalities still use a fixed fee per year.
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