Before throwing something away, please consider whether items such as clothing, appliances or furniture can be given a second life at one of your local second-hand stores (kringloopwinkel). There are a number of licensed second-hand stores throughout the city (and neighbouring towns) and many of them will collect bulkier items if you arrange an appointment. You can find a list of these stores here (in Dutch.) Also keep in mind that if you are purchasing new electrical goods or appliances, shops in the Netherlands can receive and recycle your old product – either at time of purchase or delivery. For further information, you should check with the individual shop.
Amsterdam residents can now recycle plastic packaging by depositing their plastic waste in the dedicated plastic containers (In Dutch) – clearly marked as ‘Plastic verpakkingen’. There are over 200 plastic containers throughout the city, which can be used for empty plastic packaging, such as trays, cups, lids, bread bags, bottles, plastic wrap, flasks, pots, bags and tubes. When transferring these items to the plastic containers, it is important to only use clear bags – not black or green refuse bags. Other types of plastic should be discarded as part of your household refuse.
Paper, cardboard and glass
Some of the most common recyclables in Amsterdam are paper and glass. There are around 1,000 glass containers and 1,400 paper containers (in Dutch), ensuring you never need walk too far to recycle. Old paper and old glass are always transformed into new products.
Textiles and clothing
Old clothing, towels, cuddly toys and shoes can often be reused or recycled. There are approximately 170 bins for textiles and clothing around Amsterdam (in Dutch). The style and colour of these bins varies by city district but are commonly marked as 'Textiel'. All clothes and textiles should be clean, usable and must be deposited within closed refuse bags. Pairs of shoes should be tied and packaged together. Such textile bins should not be used for items such as carpeting or other bulky fabrics.
Minor chemical waste
Items such as used alkaline batteries, energy saving light bulbs, rechargeable batteries, oils or old paint are harmful to the environment and should never be discarded within your household refuse. They can safely be disposed of at the waste collection points or taken to the Chemokar, a special truck that parks at designated points around the city (search for your nearest collection point here). A growing number of supermarkets, hardware stores and other shops also have bins for depositing the likes of light bulbs and batteries. Old medicine can be returned to your local chemist.
Cooking oils used for baking or frying should never be poured down sinks or drains as they can be dangerous to both the environment and to the city’s waste and sewer infrastructure. What’s more, such products can now be recycled and used as biofuels. Pour your used oils back into a bottle and take them to a local location with a yellow recycling bin (view a list of locations [in Dutch]), to a Chemokar collection point or at the waste collection points. Search for your nearest collection point here (in Dutch)
If asbestos is discovered or suspected during a demolition or building renovation project, work must halt immediately. Such material should not be transported to a waste collection point or deposited in city bins. Special rules apply and the situation should be handled only by professionals. For information and assistance, call the city helpline 14 020 (Mon-Fri, 08:00-18:00).