The Netherlands, an outsider's view.

The Netherlands, an outsider's view.

NL

Amsterdam waste crisis continues as conditions set for AEB restructure



60,000 cubic meters of waste were temporarily discharged in the last two weeks at a dumping site in Amersfoort; at least until Renewi, the company that deals with garbage collection, decides what to do with the huge surplus of garbage in Amsterdam

In normal times this waste would have been incinerated at the Afval Energie Bedrijf Amsterdam (AEB). But since the AEB, the largest waste incinerator in the Netherlands, has largely closed its furnaces due to serious technical problems, the garbage remains.

This situation has been going on for three weeks and the need is now so urgent that last Thursday the association dealing with waste treatment spoke of a “national crisis”. There are no solutions on the horizon and meanwhile temporary storage sites fill up, says NRC.

On Friday, late in the afternoon, the municipality of Amsterdam announced that two landfills in Flevoland and Noord-Holland will be able to buffer the situation but in the meantime, writes the Rotterdam daily paper, the issue of AEB which has shut down some of its furnaces triggering the current crisis, will probably not be resolved yet.

The garbage increases visibly and the crisis of AEB continued over two years starting from a series of serious technical failures that compromised the site’s capabilities.

At the beginning of July, AEB decided to close up to 70 percent of its plant. Only two of the six lines – the most stable – are still in operation. Meanwhile, the AEB is losing much of its revenue, so the waste disposal company – which has been struggling with financial problems for years – is on the verge of bankruptcy. The banks and the municipality of Amsterdam (the sole shareholder of the AEB) proposed to refinance the site with a loan of 16 million euros. The municipality has also paid in advance the account for the incineration of household waste, that has given a few weeks of room.

The Rotterdam newspaper explains the current crisis with two figures: AEB is the largest waste disposal facility in the Netherlands and at the main entrance there is a garbage truck every two minutes, six hundred a day. Now, 400 of those trucks have to go elsewhere.

The other eleven waste incineration plants (AVI), scattered throughout the Netherlands, have almost no more space.

Temporary storage, like that created by Renewi in Amersfoort, continues. But the mood is rising between the provinces: Drenthe and Brabant don’t want the garbage of Amsterdam.

In the meanwhile looks like the Amsterdam City Council is trying to deal with the crisis: the waste disposal company of Amsterdam AEB, run by the municipality of the capital, obtained 16 million from the banks as long as it fires the current board of directors.

This was one of the conditions that the municipality set last week: three of the four members of the current Supervisory Board (RVC) have already resigned and have been replaced by new members.

The support that AEB receives is, amongst other things, to ensure that waste can continue to be collected and processed in the city, but certain conditions have been established.

One of the conditions was that two new supervisors appointed by the municipality would strengthen the current supervisory board. A commissioner has been added to the team since July 22nd, the other will follow shortly, reports the municipality.

Another condition for financial support was the appointment of a restructuring manager, who was supposed to fix things within AEB. He has been working since July 22 and is “fully involved”, explains the spokesman. The municipality now also has access to the accounting books of its subsidiary.

The new supervisory board will now examine possible future scenarios under the guidance of this manager.

Featured Image: FaceMePLS



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