An international deal to facilitate the trade of raw materials obtained from waste has been signed by representatives from the Netherlands, France, Flanders, the UK, the private sector and environmental organisations.
According to the Netherlands EU Presidency 2016, the Green Deal for a North Sea Resources Roundabout (NSSR) will make it easier to trade in raw materials left over after waste incineration.
The issue is high on the Netherlands’ agenda during its EU Presidency, which said that all too often, raw materials left over from waste to energy plants, such aluminium and lead, or recyclable plastic are disposed of as waste. Moreover the different ways countries view residual materials make them difficult to trade internationally.
With the Green Deal for a NSSR, environment minister Sharon Dijksma and economic minister Henk Kamp, together with environment ministers from Flanders, France and the UK as well as the private sector and environmental organisations, have agreed to remove these obstacles.
“I want to give those companies leading the way in sustainability more scope to innovate, in order to make our economy greener,” commented Dijksma. “And that’s exactly what this deal does. By redefining raw materials and working with our neighbours, it will be easier for businesses to innovate and operate in this area.:
“That’s good for the environment and will also boost trade between countries in the North Sea region,” she added.
According to Kamp the deal allows Dutch stakeholders in the raw materials and waste industries to benefit from a growing export market.
“It shows how the circular economy improves economic activity, employment and the environment,” he said. “Our neighbours will start to see kitchen and garden waste as a potential fertiliser, for instance. This will make it easier to trade.”
The Dutch negotiators added that the deal also means that leftover material from waste incineration, like bottom ash, can be processed more effectively.
This means that ash could be exported from the UK to the Netherlands for processing. This was said to be just one of the examples that private and public sector representatives from the participating countries are working on in their bid to remove obstacles to international trade.
One Dutch firm was also noted to already have the technology to recover tiny pieces of aluminium, lead, zinc, silver and gold from this ash.
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