Plastic containing hazardous substances: recycle or incinerate?

20 April 2016

One of the problems of recycling is that materials may contain substances that pose a risk to man and the environment. The possible advantages of recycling should be weighed against the potential effects of these substances. A recent RIVM report focuses on cases where hazardous substances have been incorporated into potentially recyclable material: the flame- retardant hexabromocyclododecane (HBCDD) in Styrofoam (extruded polystyrene), and the plasticiser DEHP, cadmium and lead in polyvinyl chloride (PVC). The report outlines the technical background to the recycling of these materials, current practice and the complex legislation on recycling, and it ends with some policy recommendations.
Click here for a summary of the report (choose ‘Synopsis’).
Click here for the report (671 kB).
Click here for more information about the NVC Inspiration meeting on the effectiveness of the Dutch policy on packaging and the environment (7 September 2016).

If you have any questions about this subject, please contact us:, +31-(0)182-512411. This item is also included in our monthly overview, the NVC Members-only Update.