Checklist for separating company waste

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In the Netherlands, separating company waste comes with its own rules, that differ from the ones for domestic waste. Waste separation is mandatory. This checklist tells you how to deal with your company waste. Which waste should you separate, how can you have it collected, and how can you reduce your waste flow?

1. Find out which waste to separate

What you must separate depends on your situation. The acreage of your company and the amount of waste you produce, for instance. Use the Company waste separation tool to find out which rules apply to your situation, and which types of waste you must separate.

2. Decide whether you want to separate more waste than required

The Company waste tool tells you which types of waste you are required to separate by law. You may want to separate more waste. Potential reasons are:

  • You can save money. If you have a lot of one type of waste, it may be cheaper to have it collected separately. To give an example: computer or office paper are worth more than regular paper and cardboard.
  • You want to contribute to a healthier environment. If you separate waste, the materials can be recycled.

Make a list of the residual waste products your company throws out on a regular basis. You can use this list and the results of the Company waste tool to come to an arrangement with your waste collecting company.

3. Find waste partners

You may be able to save money if you sign a waste collection contract together with other entrepreneurs. Together, you will have more waste. You can share your waste costs:

  • By co-signing a mutual contract, set up by an entrepreneur society, or a business improvement zone (bedrijveninvesteringszone, read how to set up one);
  • By entering a contract set up by your sector organisation.

Read more about ways to collect waste collectively in the (Dutch) RWS brochure 'Focus op slimme logistiek bedrijfsafval' (Focus on smart logistics company waste).

Reduce your company waste

To paraphrase the popular saying: What doesn’t go around, doesn’t come around. Read how you can reduce your company waste (in Dutch) on the KVK website.

4. Talk to more than one waste collector

Every region has its own waste collection companies. Does your waste resemble household waste? In some regions, the municipal waste collection services can collect this for you.

Talk to several waste collectors, and inquire into the possibilities. Choose the one best suited to your waste collection needs. Compare prices. Read the article Agreements and contracts about how to reach a good agreement and how to draw up a contract.

5. Draw up a contract with a waste collector

Only a certified waste collector is allowed to collect your company waste. Check the national list of Transporters, Collectors, Traders and Brokers (VIHB lijst, in Dutch) to see if your waste collector is a certified party. There are different categories of waste collectors:

  • general collectors, that collect most types of waste;
  • specialised collectors that only collect certain types of waste, for instance frying fat or archive material.

Do you put wheelie bins in the yard? Or, if you have a lot of waste but little space, do you opt for a compactor? Discuss with your waste collector which containers you choose for storage and collection. And how often they are emptied.

6. Educate your employees: how to separate waste

Make it as easy as possible for your employees to separate waste. The waste has to be ‘pure’: if you put too much waste in the wrong container, it cannot be re-used. Ensure that everyone in your company knows which waste materials to put in which container:

  • Choose the right containers for your company. Place containers with an opening that will only receive the correct waste, for instance a round opening for cups, or a slot for paper. There are different options, depending on the type of waste.
  • Put the containers in logical places. The coffee machine is a logical place to put a cup container. The printer is where people expect to find the paper container.
  • Colour and label the containers on all sides, and clearly state at eye level what can and cannot go in. These pictograms (in Dutch) are free to download and use.

Rijkswaterstaat offers an Inspiration guide: Working on behaviour towards better waste separation in your company (pdf, in Dutch).

7. If your company circumstances change: check the rules

If your company circumstances change, so will your waste types. Check regularly if you still comply with the rules. For example, do you manufacture a new product? Or has the demand for your products gone up? You may have different types of waste, or more waste.

Questions relating to this article?

Please contact Rijkswaterstaat