Amsterdam battling increase in rubbish, city looking to take action

Amsterdam battling increase in rubbish, city looking to take action

In a letter to the city council, alderman for waste Zita Pels explains how Amsterdam has seen an increase in the amount of rubbish on its streets, largely as a result of the relatively recent introduction of deposits for small plastic bottles and cans. The municipality is now looking to take action to clean up the Dutch capital. 

Bottle and can deposits leading to rubbish problems

For years, the Netherlands has had a deposit on beer crates and 1 and 1,5-litre plastic bottles but, as of July 2021, a 15-cent deposit has also applied to 500-millilitre bottles. More recently, as of the beginning of this year, a 15-cent deposit has also been applied to cans of all sizes. The government hoped these measures would reduce waste and encourage more people to recycle. 

In Amsterdam, however, the measures have apparently had other results. According to the municipality, a “deposit problem” has emerged in the city, as members of the public break open bins in order to collect bottles and cans that haven’t been returned at one of the thousands of collection points that can be found across the country.

NOS reports that Pels’ letter highlights how this has not only led to an increase in the amount of rubbish seen on the streets of Amsterdam, but also to broken rubbish bins. The issue is further exacerbated during the summer, as people spend more time outside thanks to the generally nicer weather

Municipality taking steps to tidy up streets of Amsterdam

Both NOS and AT5 report that the municipality is taking various steps in an attempt to clean up the city. Broken bins are being repaired, and some will be fitted with locks so they cannot be easily opened by members of the public. The so-called donation rings that were unveiled earlier this year are also due to be installed on bins outside the city centre. 

In addition to this, two additional workers from the city’s sanitation department will be employed in each city district from mid-August, and more, larger bins will be installed in the city’s parks and recreational areas. Posters and signs, as well as teams of city workers, will also attempt to remind people - in person and online through a social media campaign - to tidy up after themselves.

Finally, the municipality has called on businesses not only to do their bit and ensure the areas around their establishments remain clean and tidy, but also to install more collection points where members of the public can hand in their bottles and cans. 

Thumb: Ceri Breeze via

Victoria Séveno


Victoria Séveno

Victoria grew up in Amsterdam, before moving to the UK to study English and Related Literature at the University of York and completing her NCTJ course at the Press Association...

Read more



Leave a comment