Amsterdam struggling to get a grip on garbage problem
Amsterdam is struggling to get a grip on its garbage collection problems. An experiment with “dynamic collection” failed. The municipality’s Waste and Raw Materials Service is under increased supervision. And birds picking at garbage bags around overflowing bins is becoming an increasingly common sight in the Dutch capital, Het Parool reports.
The municipality has been looking for a cheaper and smarter way to empty its 13,000 underground waste containers for years. In 2018, it launched experiments with “dynamic collection,” in which waste collection happens in a targeted manner, emptying only full waste containers. The dynamic collection was phased in from 2020 in the districts Zuid, Oost, and Zuidoost, with plans to extend it to the rest of the city in the short term.
But the experiment failed, Parool reports based on an external evaluation accidentally published on a municipal website. The assessment revealed a lot of shortcomings in the organization of the experiment. The results were not properly monitored, the dynamic collection turned out not to be more efficient, and complaints from Amsterdam residents were pouring in. Waste collectors were also dissatisfied with the new working method, which reduced support.
The problems with the experiments come on top of structural issues at the Waste and Raw Materials Service. The city placed the service under increased supervision in November after establishing that work processes often went wrong, absenteeism was too high, and productivity was too low. The transition to dynamic collection turned out to be too much for the vulnerable organization.
Alderman Zita Pels (Waste), therefore, decided to suspend dynamic collection for the time being. At the beginning of this year, Amsterdam returned to the old way of garbage collection, using fixed routes. Pels first wants to get the Waste and Raw Materials Service in order before starting new experiments.
Pels will present her new waste plans in the autumn. In the past few years, the city spent around 3 million euros on new computer systems for dynamic collection, according to the newspaper. The municipality expects depreciation of 2.3 million euros.