Henk Bosproject directorVisit Linkedin profile of Henk Bos
“Thinking outside the box and thus achieving innovation remains the ultimate challenge. In the end, it’s the result that counts!”
Reint Sekhuis founded Weee Netherlands with 10 years of experience under his belt as the owner of an e-waste recycling plant. It is the start of the second independent product collective in the Netherlands. From the outset, many producers, municipalities and retailers have been enthusiastic about the service-oriented and social approach and more and more parties choose to switch to us. Producers can also contact us for assistance when registration abroad.
The focus is on innovation. Practical knowledge translates into setting up inclusive social sorting centres for e-waste throughout the Netherlands. We also set up shop collections differently: customised, CO2-neutral services and the collection of voluminous EPS packaging. With the introduction of the e-waste race, we involve municipalities, pupils and local residents in the collection.
Collecting more is an important task for the producer systems. Together with PostNL and Fietskoerier, we are successfully pioneering collection via parcel delivery. We are also in dialogue with Coolblue about taking back on delivery. Despite successful pilots in Amsterdam, Groningen and Dordrecht, it does not result in national implementation.
Our different approach appears to surprise both the government and Wecycle. This is because not 1, but 2 parties are involved in the implementation of producer responsibility. Now different interests need to be taken into account so producers, municipalities and retailers retain freedom of choice. The positive aspect is that with all the changes and the arrival of Weee Netherlands, more is being collected.
Through our membership of Social Enterprise NL, we symbolise our founding ambition: we want to make a positive impact on the climate and society. Weee Netherlands is the important founder of today’s inclusive e-waste centres. Where environmental challenges go hand in hand with caring for people who find it difficult to find a job independently.
In 2018, the e-waste collection percentage is 55%. According to regulations, this must be 65% in 2019. Together with stakeholders and Wecycle, we draw up the Plan of Action 65%. We are focusing on new ways to collect more (system change), but Wecycle indicates they are not yet ready to implement changes. High-impact collection methods will only succeed if both collectives work together in this. Wecycle focuses on more communication and stricter regulations. After a year, the plans appear to have had no effect and the collection percentage has fallen.
We now serve 30% of all producers and collection points. Since the Plan of Action does not yield enough results, we are encouraging a large group of white goods manufacturers to start working with a return premium, a kind of deposit scheme. We believe that we can’t wait any longer. We submit the return premium plan to the government together with Urgenda. The government adopts the plan. Yet final implementation does not materialise, because 2 large producers block the plan.
The ministry decides to change the interpretation of producer responsibility and agrees to a Universal Binding Declaration (UBD) requested by Wecycle. The result is that producers, municipalities and retailers no longer have freedom of choice, but have to join a single system. The new name of Wecycle will be “Stichting OPEN”. They promise the ministry to reach 65% collection within 2 years.
We believe that excluding producer collectives, such as Weee Netherlands, is contrary to (European) competition rules. But we consider our responsibility too great to stick to our current role in the market. We conclude a collaboration contract with Stichting OPEN and will be carrying out the collection of e-waste under their umbrella for the next 5 years. This way, we are safeguarding our collection structure and the jobs of 250 people for these years. The UBD comes into effect from 1 March 2021.
In the collaboration proposal, it has been agreed that we can submit project proposals for increased collection. However, Stichting OPEN rejects 4 projects proposed by us. According to them, the proposed projects do not fit in the vision and approach of OPEN, which is aimed at more registration, not on more self-controlled collection. In 2021, the collection percentage drops to 47%. Nevertheless, Stichting OPEN claims it will deliver on its UBD promise of 65% before 1 March 2023.
How can things be done better? What should change? Only by innovating do we achieve what we want to achieve. Today we think out of the box, open up new horizons. For a better future, for tomorrow. And we do that together, by being courageous and by working hard. We’ll make some mistakes along the way, but that’s okay. As long as the end result is better than where we started.
Let’s keep things as easy as possible: simple and workable! We’ve rolled up our sleeves: based on daily practice, we think of solutions that are innovative and practical. Of course we look closely at knowledge gained from science. But we’ll only use it if it has been tried and tested in practice and proven to be effective. To us, this is a very logical way of working (together).
How people live and how we as people organise our society are inextricably linked to the earth. And our organisation is inextricably linked to that society. That’s why we like to work together in the long term and as such we are constantly looking for new relationships that match our vision. And that’s only possible if you are flexible and if we can maximise each other’s potential. Because together, you achieve more: a better climate, a circular economy, a social working environment.
A team that is ready for you! Are you a producer selling electronics abroad? Or an entrepreneur interested in reusable equipment? Feel free to call or e-mail us. We would like to introduce ourselves to you below: