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?
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1. Find out which waste to separateWhat you must separate depends on your situation. The acreage of your company and the amount of waste you produce, for instance. Use the Afvalwijzer voor bedrijven (Company waste tool, in Dutch) to find out which rules apply to your situation, and which types of waste you must separate according to the Directorate-General for Public Works and Water Management (Rijkswaterstaat, RWS).
2. Decide whether you want to separate more waste than requiredThe 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.
Why separate waste?Residual waste product scan be reused. Worldwide, the supply of raw materials for producing products is decreasing. By 2050, the Netherlands wants to use fewer ‘fresh’ raw materials, and reuse all waste. You contribute to this move toward a circular economy (Rijksoverheid, in Dutch) by separating your waste.
3. Find waste partnersYou 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 company investment zone (bedrijveninvesteringszone, read how to set up one, in Dutch);
- By entering a contract set up by your sector organisation.
Reduce your company wasteTo paraphrase the popular saying: What doesn’t go around, doesn’t come around. Read how you can reduce your company waste on the KVK website (in Dutch).
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 collectorOnly a certified waste collector (in Dutch) is allowed to collect your company waste. Check the national list of Transporters, Collectors, Traders and Mediators (VIHB list, 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.
6. Choose the right type of containerDo you station roller containers in your courtyard? Or do you opt for a compactor, because you have much waste and little space? Discuss the best choice of storage and collection containers with your waste collector. You can usually rent containers from your waste collector.
7. Educate your employees: how to separate wasteMake 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. Rijkswaterstaat.nl offers an overview of circular waste containers (in Dutch).
- 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. Rijkswaterstaat has (Dutch) Inspiration guide: Working on behaviour towards better waste separation in your company (pdf, in Dutch).
8. If your company circumstances change: check the rulesIf your company circumstances change, so will your waste types. Don’t forget to 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. Separating waste is an increasingly topical issue. Authorities and businesses are searching for new solutions for a better environment. Now more than ever, new companies are buying and collecting certain types of waste to turn them into new products. Collaborating with such a company could save you money.