Recycling 101: A Simple Guide to Recycling in the Netherlands

Recycling 101: A Simple Guide to Recycling in the Netherlands

Caring for our environment starts with managing waste well. The key idea we should follow is cutting down waste, especially plastic. We should aim to buy things that last a long time and come in little packaging.

When we can't avoid this, a good next step is to use the packaging for something else. But, we can't always find a new use for all types of waste. When this happens, recycling is our best choice.

Understanding how to recycle and the rules that go with it can change a lot depending on where you live. This post will make the recycling and waste rules in the Netherlands easy to understand.

Sorting waste takes more effort than throwing everything into one bin. However, this small step helps the environment a lot and reduces the amount of waste going to the dump.

Let's get into the details.

Types of Waste in the Netherlands

  1. Green Waste
  2. Glass Waste
  3. Paper Waste
  4. Plastics, Metal, and Drink Packaging (PMD)
  5. All Other Waste

1) Green Waste

Green waste includes natural things like food scraps (apple skins, egg shells, banana peels), leftover food, old flowers, or plant leaves. This type of waste is picked up separately, and the government picks it up every two weeks. Alternatively, you can let green waste break down naturally and use it in gardens or farms.

2) Glass Waste

There are two ways to recycle glass waste. Some glass items have a 'statiegeld' (deposit) mark, meaning you can return these for money back. Supermarkets often have special places for these returns.

For glass items without a 'statiegeld', you can drop them into city glass bins. These bins often have separate areas based on the color of the glass—white, green, and brown.

3) Paper Waste

You can recycle paper waste like mail, old newspapers, and paper packaging in special paper bins often found near the glass ones. However, remember to take off any plastic parts first. Also, make sure the paper or carton is clean – dirty items like pizza boxes go into the 'other waste' group.

4) Plastics, Metal, and Drink Packaging (PMD)

Things like cups, lids, bread bags, bottles, plastic wrap, bags, and tubes fall under PMD waste and can be put in PMD bins.

In cities like Amsterdam, they have found that machines do a better job of recycling plastic, so PMD bins are no longer around. However, in other places, you can still find these bins. Like with glass, packaging with a 'statiegeld' mark can be returned to supermarkets for money back.

5) Other Remaining Waste

The 'other waste' group includes any waste that doesn't fit into the previous groups. This kind of waste is harder to recycle and usually ends up in the dump. We should try to make as little of this waste as possible.

Important Exceptions

  • Batteries: These are very bad for the environment and need to be thrown away in special bins. Never put batteries into the regular waste bins. Instead, look for your nearest battery drop-off points, usually at supermarkets or other places that sell batteries.
  • Clothes: If you have unwanted clothes or shoes, don't put them in the regular garbage bins. Instead, use the clothing bins that you can find in every city, usually run by charity groups.
  • Furniture and Large Electronics: Take these to a recycling point. If you can't move the big waste yourself, you can set up a free pickup with your local city!
  • Medicines: For old or not needed medicines, like pills and antibiotics, take them to your local drug store, and they will throw them away correctly.

In some cities in the Netherlands, there isn't enough space for waste facilities. So, they have a calendar that tells when each type of waste is picked up.

Learning these waste rules may seem hard at first, but it quickly becomes a habit. Plus, knowing that you are helping the environment feels good.

So, let's embrace these rules, let's get recycling, and let's make a conscious effort to protect and preserve our environment. It all starts with us.

Let’s Chat!

Share your recycling tips in the comments below. We'd love to hear your ideas!

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