The Netherlands has made notable progress in recycling and waste management over the past years. However, the nation’s sheer volume of waste production hinders its goal of having a fully circular economy by 2050. On average, Dutch households produce 524 kilogrammes of waste per capita, which is above the European average of 517 kilogrammes per capita. This constitutes a total of 9.1 million tonnes of household waste generated in the Netherlands annually and underscores the need for robust waste prevention strategies.
Waste prevention is a far more impactful circular strategy than recycling and energy recovery. That is why the Netherlands is making efforts to cut waste at its source, encouraging its citizens to practice reduce, reuse and repair—the most effective circular R-strategies.
As part of these efforts, Rijkswaterstaat (RWS), the executive agency of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management of the Netherlands, asked Circle Economy Foundation to investigate how cities can be designed to promote waste reduction among residents and small businesses.
The resultant report, titled 'Zero Waste Cities of the Future,' highlighted five circular urban policy instruments to realise a vision for a waste-free city. A city geared towards waste prevention would forgo certain features to make space for new, innovative facilities and logistic networks. These instruments can reshape the urban environment, making waste prevention appealing to both consumers and producers.
By implementing these urban policy instruments, Dutch cities can lead the way in sustainable, circular practices, creating an inspiring model for the rest of the world to follow.
The report can be downloaded via this link in Dutch and English.