DWMA: Partner in the Circular Economy

With more than 50 members, the Dutch Waste Management Association (DWMA) represents the national and international interests of waste companies active in the Netherlands, and is an important discussion partner for government departments, regional and local authorities, and other organizations.

What are DWMA’s priorities and what is your role within the Association?

Dick Hoogendoorn: DWMA’s main priorities include lobbying for a healthy and balanced business climate in the Netherlands and Europe, as well as promoting efficient, practicable and sustainable waste management. Our association is a member of four important European associations: FEAD, EuRIC, ECN and CEWEP. As DWMA’s Managing Director, I am fully involved in the day-to-day activities of our association.

Boris Van Der Ham: Following closely the range of industrial, commercial, governmental and public interests relevant to waste management, we have one voice when it comes to issues that concern us and we serve as the “point of contact” between our members and the government. My responsibility as President of DWMA is to be the bridge between the organization’s daily practice and the practice of the government.

Could you elaborate on DWMA’s role as a “Partner in the circular economy” and what are your recommendations in this area?

Dick Hoogendoorn: DWMA is a consistent partner in the country’s circular economy. Our up-to-date strategy includes closing material cycles, producing sustainable energy and land-filling the inorganic residues resulting from recycling processes. Policymakers have to realize that the circular economy has its practical limits and sometimes waste cannot be recycled due to the lack of technology, financial constrains or certain social behaviour. In shaping the circular economy priority should be given to the application of the materials as a secondary product. Policy measures should concentrate on this. Examples are public green procurement, fiscal measures to stimulate the application of secondary products if price mechanisms are temporary failing and the mandatory application of secondary products. Circular economy requires more than just separate collection, sorting out and recycling; you can only recycle if the industry wants your material and you have to produce quality, guarantee enough material for the primary industry and compete on price. If these conditions are fulfilled investors will be prepared to invest in the circular economy.

Boris Van Der Ham: It is important for this industry to have a good deal with the government, a “good handshake” between companies and authorities with the correct policies in place. Furthermore, entrepreneurs and financers are insufficiently aware of the possibilities presented by the new circular business models. Knowledge is necessary in order to redesign production processes and attract financers, so there is need to increase the awareness among the stakeholders.

What is your personal message?

Dick Hoogendoorn: The economy should be sustainable and circularity is part of that sustainability!