• Stefanie and Mallory

What a Waste!

Authors: Lyanne Spittje & Bastiaan Beth

An average person causes almost 5 kilos of waste per week. A lot of the waste we produce is suitable for reuse. It can serve as a raw material for new products. For this to happen, people need to separate their waste, so it can be recycled. The national government wants to make the switch to a so-called circular economy. A Circular Economy is an economic system that takes the reusability of products and raw materials and the preservation of natural resources as the starting point and strives for value creation in every link of the system (Mansveld, 2013). The Dutch government is working on this in the Van Afval Naar Grondstof-programma, which literally means from waste to raw material program (“Afval”, n.d.).

For the Dutch government to do so, there are a lot of incentives. One of the most important motivations is the environment. In 2013 the Deputy State Secretary for Infrastructure and Environment, Wilma Mansveld, came up with a policy that could be used to fulfill the government's wish to improve waste processing (Mansveld, 2013). The policy implemented eight objectives to achieve success. We will take a closer look to the first objective to see whether the model given by Marsh and McConnell (2010) on dimensions of policy success is applicable.

The first objective was to focus existing waste policy on the circular economy and innovation.

Existing waste policy is aimed at reducing the environmental pressure, but in a circular economy waste should be seen as a raw material. To stimulate the reuse of secondary raw materials it is important that all legal and financial instruments are arranged in a way to effectuate this objective. There need to be regulations in place to promote the transition into a circular economy. These regulations must offer room for innovation and growth. To this end it is necessary that existing waste policy, both national and European, is reviewed and adjusted where possible.

With the Van Afval naar Grondstof-programma, the government came with a program to implement their objectives. In 2014, 7,9 million tons of waste left the economy in comparison to the 9,2 million tons in 2012 (Dijksma, 2016). This is a big step towards the halving of waste not suitable for reuse in 2022, which is the goal.

By setting the eight objectives for this new policy and addressing the problem on multiple levels, the government has taken an important step towards evaluation of success according to the criteria for policy success theorized by Marsh and McConnell (2010). In the end there is a big group of interest, since almost everyone benefits from a circular economy with less waste.


Afval. (n.d.). Retrieved February 20, 2018, from

Dijksma, S.A.M. (2016, September 26). Voortgangsrapportage Van Afval Naar Grondstof [Letter of government]. Retrieved from

Mansveld, W.J. (2013, June 20). Van Afval naar Grondstof [Letter of government]. Retrieved from

Marsh, D. & McConnell, A. (2010). Towards a Framework for Establishing Policy Success. Public Administration, 88(2), 564-583.

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This project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement No694266)