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Precious commodities wasted in the Netherlands

The Netherlands – An estimated EUR 73 million worth of raw materials were wasted in the Netherlands in 2012, according a new report from national statistics office CBS. A significant proportion of the 10% of recyclables lost to the waste stream resulted from Dutch citizens not handing in small electronic devices for recycling.

Approximately EUR 27 million worth of gold ended up on the rubbish heap, points out the report entitled ‘Green Growth in the Netherlands 2015’.

Meanwhile, plastics accounted for 29% of the value of all ‘lost materials’ in 2012, with copper on 24%, iron 20%, aluminium 5%, palladium 3% and silver 1%.

Dutch households and companies together own around 4.4 billion kg of electrical and electronic products – or an average of 259 kg per inhabitant or 585 kg per household per year. The e-scrap totals are 368 kg per household and almost 22 kg per inhabitant.

While larger items of equipment are often collected for recycling, small objects like electric toothbrushes are more likely to be thrown away, according to CBS. The statistics office cites figures for ‘officially collected’ recyclables of 37% for aluminium, 35% for iron, 34% for palladium, 33% for silver, 32% for gold, 30% for copper, 29% for plastics and 23% for batteries.

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