Environmental regulations regarding use of solvents

Published by:
Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO
Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO

Do you use solvents in your industrial activities? In the Netherlands the use of solvents is regulated. If your company uses or emits more than is allowed, you must report this.

The regulations on the use of solvents are set out in, for instance, the Activities (Environmental Management) Decree (Activiteitenbesluit milieubeheer). Their aim is to reduce emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Some examples of activities for which environmental regulations are in place are:

  • chemical cleaning
  • coating processes
  • making coating blends
  • impregnating wood
  • manufacturing shoes
  • laminating wood or plastic materials
  • working rubber
  • manufacturing medicines

Providing data and solvent management plan

If your use or emissions of solvents exceeds a certain threshold value (table 4.438a or, specifically for the vehicle coating industry table 4.438b, in Dutch), you must, as a VOC establishment, report this information to the municipal or provincial authorities. You must take measures in order to minimise emissions and prepare a solvent management plan.

You must draw up a separate plan for each activity. If you do this each calendar year, it will be useful for drawing up the annual environmental PRTR report. You can also use the Dutch-language online application Digital environmental annual report (e-MJV, elektronisch milieujaarverslag) to prepare the solvent management plan.

Replacement regulations for hazardous substances

Replacement regulations for hazardous substances which cause the release of VOCs have been drawn up for the following sectors or activities:

  • indoor painting and gluing
  • the printing sector
  • car paint shops
  • the carpentry industry

You must check if alternative, non- or less harmful substances are available. Is it not technically feasible to use non-harmful or less harmful substances or products? You can apply for an exemption or dispensation from this obligation to replace hazardous substances with other substances to the Netherlands Labour Authority (NLA).

Solvents in paints and varnishes

Do you bring decorative paints, varnishes or products for respraying vehicles onto the market? You must observe the requirements of the Organic Solvents in Paints and Varnishes (Environmental Management) Decree (Besluit organische oplosmiddelen in verven en vernissen milieubeheer, BOOVV). This decree states the rules governing the content of VOCs and rules for labelling these products.

Do you want to supply paints and varnishes for the restoration and maintenance of listed buildings and classic cars, but do these not meet the prescribed VOC content requirements? You can apply to the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management for dispensation. For more information please contact Infomil/Rijkswaterstaat Environment.

Online application procedure via Message Box

At the province of Noord-Brabant you can report the VOC information also via Message Box. Message Box is a secure email system that enables you as an entrepreneur to exchange digital messages with Dutch government agencies.