Let’s Talk Trash! fromExpatrordinary Amsterdam


Reminded of trash woes from back home of the town waste management company suddenly canceling its contract to pick up garbage (every other week!) I thought I would share with you how fabulous trash collection is here in Amsterdam.

Who knew that I would actually enjoy putting out the garbage? In a city of 820,000 people and 3.5 million visitors a year, you could say there is a lot of garbage in Amsterdam. Twenty years ago, it was stressful remembering to put out your garbage between certain hours on one day a week, especially if you lived in an apartment two hundred stairs up and worked a lot.

Stressing no more, I was happily and strangely surprised to find a new Dutch trash collection system here. Just steps from my apartment door there is this silver box with instructions on how to insert your trash bag. At any time on any day of the week, you lift the lid and a circular container spins to let you put in your trash bag, you shut the lid and off it goes underground and then you hear it being squished with all the other neighbor’s trash. And that’s it. No dragging a smelly large plastic container to the curb, no hoarding all your trash outside somewhere to stink up the street, no leaving it in a huge pile. Yes, I know you are all envious of my new fabulous trash situation.

I have always admired the Dutch for their ingenuity and practicality. But shouldn’t be too surprised, I mean the Dutch reclaimed most of their land from the sea. On collection days, the garbage truck arrives, but no one gets out of it. This crane type of thing (think long metallic arm) comes to magnetically connect to the silver bin and lifts it up and over the truck – and it opens and dumps all the compacted trash in. About one minute later the trash is driven away.

It’s pretty sweet, this trash thing here.



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