The Zero Waste Lab by De Gezonde Stad (The Healthy City) is a local spot in Amsterdam East used to collect and upcycle waste. The community’s rubbish is exchanged for a local currency which can be used to buy goods and services at local shops.
The first Zero Waste Lab opened in Amsterdam in 2016. Local residents are supplied with a hopsack that they can use to collect a wide range of waste, including paper, plastic, textile, batteries, lamps, latex paint, vegetables and fruit and e-waste. After handing in the bag, the resident receives a coin which he or she can use to, for example, buy a cup of coffee, to get a discount on groceries, clothing or reading glasses. The waste will be reused or recycled. The lab itself serves as a place to inform the neighborhood about the benefits that recycling waste has for the environment, the city and the person. The second lab on the Waterlooplein was opened in 2017.
Just 27% of the waste in Amsterdam is separated, unlike the rest of the country where the figure is 51%. Amsterdam’s goal is to separate 65% of its household waste by 2020. The Zero Waste Lab scheme is meant to make it easier and more enjoyable for the community to separate their household waste. The organization is run by people who are distanced from the labour market. The organization trains them to be raw materials experts. The delivered waste will be upcycled and reused locally. The rest of the rubbish is collected by Zero Waste Lab’s business partner AEB, and will be recycled.
De Gezonde Stad’s ambition is to contribute to a circular economy with the Zero Waste Lab scheme and create awareness about the value of waste. The organization’s goal is to put a Zero Waste Lab in every neighborhood. The aim is to recycle 3x more waste in 2020 (compared to 2015).
The project is supported by Ymere, AEB, Municipality of Amsterdam, Cities Foundation, De Regenboog Groep, Milieuwerk and EY. De Gezonde Stad also collaborates with market vendors of the Dappermarkt and local business persons of the Dapperbuurt, the Dapperschool and the residents.
The Best Practices
Holland Circular Hotspot (HCH) wants to support international cooperation on the circular economy, with the aim of creating business opportunities and promoting the exchange of knowledge and innovation. In the magazine Circular Is Going Global - Join Holland's Flow you can read which circular best practices the Netherlands has to offer.