An overflowing trash bin in Rome, Source: Depositphotos

Amsterdam will import Rome’s trash and turn it into energy

Amsterdam will import Rome’s trash and turn it into energy

The two cities have signed a deal, which aims to alleviate the Italian capital’s big garbage problem

Rome’s waste mismanagement saga is well known by now, but it seems to have reached at least a partial solution with a recent deal signed between the Italian capital and Amsterdam. The latter defined the conditions for the weekly shipment of 900 tons of trash from Italy to the Netherlands, where it will be delivered to the local Waste Energy Company (AEB).

The latter will burn the Italian garbage in a way that produces heating. In fact, AEB supplies 30,000 households with waste-generated heat.

One city’s trash is another city’s treasure

The city of Rome has been struggling under piles of household waste that the Italian capital simply doesn’t have the capacity to process and dispose of. To make matters worse, the incinerator commissioned by Rome Mayor Roberto Gualtieri won’t be operational until at least 2026

So, new mentality and technology around sources to generate heat have allowed garbage to become something of a tradable commodity across borders and provide at least partial alleviation to the Italian capital’s incessant trash issues.

Apparently, Rome’s weekly garbage delivery will be sent to Amsterdam via 16-carriage cargo trains, which will unload directly at AEB’s site. Unlike other import-export deals, here it’s the exporter that will actually pay the importer for the commodity. That means that Rome will fork out 200 euros to Amsterdam for each ton of garbage that the Dutch city accepts. That comes up to about 180,000 euros a week.

In a statement for the press, AEB explains that waste is processed “in efficient incinerators” and is used to generate energy for households and companies in the Netherlands. “This is better for the environment than being dumped in Rome, even if the train transport of the waste is taken into account,” the AEB says.

Nevertheless, according to Euronews, this trash trading cannot be seen as a sustainable solution in the long term, since it still generates emissions. The ultimate goal of municipalities and residents should be to reduce waste generation overall through principles of circularity.



Growing City


Smart City


Green City


Social City


New European Bauhaus




ECP 2021 Winner TheMayorEU