Waste sorting starts at home

A circular economy starts quite simply among the residents themselves. Household waste is extremely valuable, as it can be used to manufacture new raw materials. And so we can save scarce commodities and energy. When we sort waste more effectively, very little residual waste is left over, which is better for the environment. Household waste actually only contains a very small share of ‘true waste’. Paper, glass, textiles, but also plastic and compostable waste is all extremely suitable for recycling.

Compostable, paper, glass and plastic

There are many ways of ensuring that household waste can be re-used in the municipality of Rotterdam. More than 35,000 households in low-rise housing already sort their compostable waste, and that number will only increase in years to come. Trials are also under way in the Ommoord apartment buildings and with a collection service in the Old West neighbourhood.

Paper is also collected door-to-door, while glass and plastic containers are dotted around the city at hundreds of locations. In the city, more and more residents have special three-way waste bins, and separate waste containers are regularly installed during large events. We also aim to raise awareness of the correct sorting of waste among kids. We therefore organise a special E-waste race once a year.

Environmental depots

Residents of Rotterdam can hand in their household waste, bulky waste and recycling goods, free of charge, at one of the seven environmental depots. Useful goods (even leftover paint!) are brought to the Piekfijn stores in order to be given a second lease of life in the city. Bulk building materials are also separated here, for re-use elsewhere.

Joost van Maaren, Manager for Collection and re-use:

“The municipality encourages people to re-use waste products by removing the thresholds for sorting waste, and providing good city facilities. Like the environmental depots, for example. They really must become the circular hotspots of the city, where you can dispose of all your sorted waste, but also buy your materials at some point in the future”.

Bob works at the environmental depot at Melanchtonweg and explains:

“It’s amazingly busy here on Saturdays. We sometimes clock up more than 1000 visitors a day. And that often includes people who sort everything down to the last gram. That’s wonderful to see. Others still need a helping hand to get the right waste into the right container. But that’s what we’re here for!’