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KIT and Plantage Amsterdam institutions are working towards Zero waste

On Thursday 9 March 2017, Alderman Abdeluheb Choho of the Municipality of Amsterdam and Cathelijne Broers on behalf of Plantage Amsterdam gave the go-ahead for the Zero Waste Expedition Plantage at Het Scheepvaartmuseum. A new initiative of sustainable waste collection and processing, where energy-efficient boats will be used, which will save at least 45 garbage truck trips per week. The institutions are working together to achieve Zero Waste by better separating their waste. KIT joins the Plantage Amsterdam institutions and will also work towards achieving Zero Waste.

The cultural institutions of Plantage Amsterdam, good for 5.1 million visitors on an annual basis, together produce 740 tons of waste per year. To compensate for the CO2 emissions associated with transporting this waste through the neighbourhood, you would have to plant 40 trees every year. The new approach, called Zero Waste Expedition Plantation, benefits the quality of life and safety in the neighborhood, and also brings financial benefits. The institutions are also going to separate their waste even better, which makes more recycling and the production of new raw materials possible.

Alderman Choho (Sustainability and Public Space) is pleased with this initiative, which was made possible in part by the municipality: ‘It is nice to see that cultural institutions are jointly committed to improving air quality by improving and changing the way they collect, transport and process their waste. The government is not solely responsible for waste, initiatives by entrepreneurs are desperately needed. This is something I’d like to see in more places in Amsterdam’.

From idea to practice

In its Urban Technology research programme, the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences investigated how collection and transport could best be organised. Icova came up with the solution for the transport and processing of the waste. Electric boats from Mokum Mariteam, and for institutions that are not located on the water, small CO2-neutral vehicles (spokes) bring the waste to a central transfer point (hub). From there, cardboard, glass, organic waste and residual waste are taken to the waste processor once every few weeks with a regular garbage truck.

Thanks to the good cooperation within Plantage Amsterdam and the shared motivation for sustainable entrepreneurship, the idea was quickly put into practice. DPM Sustainability in Stages and Museums, together with Icova, guides the transition and helps the institutions in practice. Many companies and institutions in the plantation area have been active for several years, including the Royal Tropical Institute, the Tropenmuseum, the four institutions of the Jewish Cultural Quarter, Hermitage Amsterdam, Het Scheepvaartmuseum, Hortus Botanicus, NEMO Science Museum and Royal Theater Carré.

Successful initiative

This project is the first successful initiative on this scale in the Netherlands. In 2020, 84% of all participants’ waste will be reused as raw materials. This way of processing waste is often also cheaper for entrepreneurs, because there is much less residual waste. Companies and institutions with a location in or close to the plantation can join this initiative by sending an email to