Amsterdam rounds up more plastic waste, after abolishing collection points


Amsterdam is collecting far more plastic waste than it did before automated separation systems were introduced, according to city council figures.

In 2020, just over 4,000 tonnes of plastic waste was picked up from street corner containers, and a further 6,100 tonnes was separated by special machinery at the AEB waste disposal plant.

But last year, when street corner collections were abolished, more than 16,000 tones was separated from ordinary household waste by the AEB, a rise of almost 6,000 tonnes on 2020’s total. And between January and September this year, the figure is over 12,000 tonnes, in line with developments in 2021.

Critics had said the decision to stop people from separating their plastic waste at home would hit collection rates in total, as well as lessening awareness about the amount of waste people produce.

A city spokeswoman told Dutch News that the AEB processing plant expects to be able to collect even more plastic by replacing some parts of the machinery. ‘For example, using an additional vacuum extractor will allow more plastic wrap to be recycled,’ she said.

The city is also in talks with the packing industry and producers to further reduce the unnecessary use of plastic, she said. In particular, producers are being asked to make sure plastic packaging is recyclable at the design stage.


Broadcaster NOS reported in July that around 80% of plastic bottles are now returned for reuse or recycling, a year after a deposit scheme began for small bottles.

A deposit of 15 cents is now payable on smaller plastic bottles, with the aim of reducing plastic waste in the environment from the 900 million bottles sold every year.

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