New Dutch rubber-plastics covenant agreed

Government, industry, deal introduces integrated push for better environmental performance

The Dutch government has finalised a new covenant, or voluntary agreement, with the rubber and plastics industry aiming at an across-the-board improvement in the sector's environmental performance. Around 1,100 firms will be affected, according to the Dutch Rubber and Plastics Federation, which described the covenant's goals as "ambitious but achievable".

The deal pulls in existing targets on reducing waste and emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from earlier covenants. It adds new targets on reducing emissions of ammonia and sulphur dioxide and other pollutants, plus goals for cutting noise nuisance and adopting the international environmental management standard ISO 14001.

Arising out of the deal, the government and the industry are cooperating to produce guidelines on water prevention and reuse in the sector, and also to agree a new, tougher target for reducing emissions of CO2. The covenant must be scrutinised by the Dutch parliament before it can enter into force.

According to the Dutch environment ministry, finalisation of the rubber and plastics covenant completes a series of ten agreements reached with pollution-intensive industry sectors since 1994. Earlier ones concern sectors including meat processing, dairy, chemicals and steel production.

Follow Up:
Dutch environment ministry, tel: +31 70 339 3939; Dutch Rubber and Plastics Federation, tel: +31 70 317 5490. See also the rubber and plastics covenant.

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