Refuse Collection and Recycling

Information on management of household waste in the Netherlands. What you can and can't throw in the dustbin and how and where to dispose of household waste, toxic products, electronic equipment and garden waste...

Management of household waste and recycling in the Netherlands is under the responsibility of local authorities. Different localities implement different systems. Environmental tax is due for the service and may be billed monthly or included in a rental contract.

Municipalities all over the country publish a calendar, on a yearly basis, of the pickup dates and the addresses of the waste separation and recycling stations.

General Household Waste

Residual waste (restafval) is any non-recyclable, non-hazardous, household waste. It should be put in the dark green or grey containers on the street. In some blocks, rubbish is put into large underground collection vats accessed via a locked above-ground chute. Local residents are issued keys.


Organic waste should be put in the green container, in those that collect this refuse to compost.

Glass should be put in special containers for class, separating white (wit glas) from coloured (bont glas). Households are not issued with a glass container. Instead there are several drop-off points in each area.

Plastic waste should be recycled in containers marked Plastic verpakkingen. Households are not issued with a plastic container. Instead there are several drop-off points in each area.

Paper and cardboard should be recycled in designated containers. A designated paper recycling bin can be issued to a household on request to the local council. Otherwise, paper can be recycled at any of the recycling drop-off points in the neighbourhood.

Textiles and clothing should be deposited in designated containers, which can be found in most districts.

Dangerous or Toxic Products

Medication should be returned to a pharmacy for proper disposal. Medications should never be put down a sink or in the toilet.

Batteries should be left in a collection box found in supermarkets or petrol stations, or be brought to a collection point.

Small hazardous waste or chemical waste such as energy saving light bulbs, detergents, paint, varnish, oil and cosmetics should be dropped at a collection point (Afvalspunten). In Amsterdam, they can also be taken to the Chemokar, a truck that parks on designated points.

Supermarkets, hardware stores and other shops often have collection bins for light bulbs and batteries.

Garden Waste

Garden waste is compostable but can also be left at a collection point or left out on the kerb in a green bin (issued for free by the local council)

Disposing of large objects

Bulk waste, construction and demolition waste, and electronic/electrical goods should be brought to a waste collection point (Afvalspunten).

The local authorities can also provide a bulk household goods collection service for large objects (furniture) or other waste. Bulk waste is "grofvuil" and collection can be booked in advance by telephone. In some areas there is a charge but most areas provide a free collection every two weeks with extra collections incurring a fee.

South Holland
The Hague: Grofvuiltelefoon Tel: 070 366 0808
Rotterdam: Roteb (Grofvuil) Tel: 14 010
Leiden: Servicepunt Woonomgeving Tel: 14 071
Gouda: Cyclus Tel: 018 254 7500
North Holland
Amsterdam Website
Utrecht Tel: 030 286 00 00
North Brabant
Eindhoven Tel: 14 040
Maastricht Website