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Utrecht moves past plastic waste separation at home

Utrecht moves past plastic waste separation at home

Residents of the Dutch city do not need to throw plastics separately from residual waste anymore

While some cities are still adapting their waste management systems to accommodate waste separation and prevent the excess generation of garbage, others have mastered the process pretty well and have even gone beyond that.

On 7 September, the Dutch municipality of Utrecht informed that the residents of certain city areas no longer have to separate their plastic, cans and packs at their homes. The reason: this type of garbage will be separated directly in the processing plant, which has become both easier and better for the environment, thanks to modern technologies.

More efficient waste-management for cities

Utrecht gradually moves to post-separation of plastic waste. From 30 September, residents of East, West and Northwest districts will no longer have to separate their plastic, can and pack waste separately from the residual waste. The remaining districts will soon follow suit.

Thus, by mid-2022, the whole of Utrecht should have switched to post-separation of plastic, cans and packs. As a result, the existing underground containers will be converted and repurposed for other use, such as residual waste, or paper, which are still being collected separately.

The announcement marks a significant progress in waste separation technology implementation, making it even easier for citizens to prevent the waste becoming trash. As the authorities inform, modern technologies now make it more efficient to separate the waste at the waste processing plants, instead of one’s home. Moreover, research has shown that more plastic, cans and packs are separated this way and that the quality of the material is better for reuse.

We see that in recent years the residents of Utrecht have participated extremely well in the separation of plastic, cans and packs”, says alderman Klaas Verschuure, in charge of Circular Economy, on the municipal website. “But technology is not standing still and that is why Utrecht can now switch to post-separation for plastic, can and pack. We continue to work on raising awareness of the separation of waste and the reuse of waste....”

Utrecht has been collecting plastic, can and packaging waste separately for reuse since 2015. However, the factory where the local waste goes (AVR in Rotterdam) developed an installation in 2018 that removes the plastic, can and pack waste from the residual waste and prepares it for reuse.

Accordingly, in 2019, Utrecht started an investigation into whether more plastic, can and pack waste is reused if the waste is separated by the factory (post-separation), instead of by the residents (source separation). The results of the study were positive, hence that is why they will proceed with 'post-separation' of the plastic, can and pack waste.

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