Before we leave for Ghana, we wanted to find out why we don't see waste ending up in the canals in Dutch Cities. What kind of system and processes does it take to organize waste management in the Netherlands? We found out at Van Gansewinkel, a large waste service provider, recycler and supplier of secondary raw materials. Peter Vingerhoeds and Niels van den Hoek invited us a for an afternoon in the VGW headquarters in Eindhoven and told us all about the business and strategies.
Niels had been involved in developing a model for the waste market in India, Municipal Solid Waste is divided in three separate streams: wet waste, dry waste and rejects. In his project, improvements in the waste chain focus on collection and primary segregation and handling. Through a tipping fee based payment scheme, informal collectors and ragpickers would be compensated for their services. As in many developing countries, the recycling market is already highly developed in India. Peter emphasized the importance of a financial incentive for the successful set-up of any kind of waste management system. Waste collection is not going to work as an environmental idealistic endeavor; running a waste business means that money should flow in accordance with your objectives.
We concluded the day with a visit to the biggest transfer center (Volume-wise) van Van Gansewinkel in Acht. Johan Doezé, head production, showed us around and explained the processes of different waste streams and in what way value can be added. 1000 tons of waste a day is processed in this large facility including waste streams as biodegradable waste, household waste, wood, debris, plastics, scrap metal, etc. Electronics (Coolrec) and glas (Maltha) are processed at other facilities
Equipped with new perspectives, safety tips and Van Gansewinkel's fluorescent vests we are ready to find out about waste management in Accra! Many thanks to Peter, Niels and Johan for sharing their expertise.