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 licensed second-hand stores in Amsterdam (and neighbouring municipalities) 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.
Throughout greater Amsterdam, residents can often recycle plastic packaging by depositing their plastic waste in the dedicated plastic containers – clearly marked as ‘Plastic verpakkingen’. These can typically be used for empty plastic packaging, such as trays, cups, lids, bread bags, bottles, plastic wrap, flasks, pots, bags and tubes. In some municipalities you can also deposit drink cartons and cans in these bins, but please check first. If you don't see plastic recycling bins on the street, it may be because your municipality extracts recyclable plastic directly from your household waste – the City of Amsterdam, for example, is moving to this model throughout 2021 and should be complete by the start of 2022.
Paper, cardboard and glass
Some of the most common recyclables in the Amsterdam Area are paper and glass. The Dutch have been collecting such materials for a long time already, ensuring old paper and glass is reused.
Textiles and clothing
Old clothing, towels, cuddly toys and shoes can often be reused or recycled. 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. In some areas, collection is handled directly by your municipality, but other textile bins may be the property of a charity. The important aspect to consider is to avoid discarding textiles in your household waste unless it's badly damaged or soiled beyond repair.
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 your local waste collection point. 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 your 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) or to a waste collection point.
Recycling in Amsterdam
Residents in Amsterdam can learn more about the recycling opportunities in their city district via amsterdam.nl. If you live in a neighbouring town or city in greater Amsterdam, contact your local municipality for more information.