Garbage Disposal in the Netherlands

An important and overlooked chore is taking out the garbage. All of the boxes, plastic, and endless counts of How-To booklets from IKEA need to go somewhere. From recycling, giving away old clothes, to the decaying banana peel that needs a place to go, that’s what we’re covering today.

Important note: all municipalities have different rules, and implement different systems.

Common Bins

You will most likely have 3 different containers, 4 depending on if the orange bin is available. If you are missing on, you can contact your local municipality and request one. The containers include black (residual waste – restafval) for non-recyclable/hazardous household waste, green (organic materials, compost, bio-degradable), blue for paper/cardboard, and as mentioned before orange, for plastic, tins, and drink packaging. You can check the ROVA or Circulus websites for the calendar on which container to put out on which day. Green and black switch between weeks, and the blue and orange container go out once a month in most cases.

Most apartments have garbage chutes, to dispose of your garbage (afval). You will most likely have a key card which will allow you to open it.

If you don’t have access to a blue bin for paper and cardboard, you’ll need to find your nearest recycling drop-off point.

Street Bins


All you need to look for is the bin with three holes colored brown, white, and green. Glass pots which held pickled goods, condiments and so forth can be dropped off here. Keep in mind that most wine and beer bottles are returnable at grocery stores, and you can possibly get a little pocket change back.


Throwing a slice of pizza should be a crime. Garbage sign in Utrecht Central Station.

Old clothes, blankets, or any gaudy household décor you need to get rid of, you are welcome to bring such goods to your neighborhood/local second-hand shop (kringloopwinkel). If you aren’t near one though, you most likely will find containers near the glass or refuse chutes, which is dedicated to such used items.


Medication should be brought to Pharmacies for proper disposal.

Batteries and old electronic equipment can be dropped off in most supermarkets or petrol stations.

Chemical and hazardous waste (in small quantity) such as paint, varnish, cosmetics, and oil should be dropped off at a designated collection point (Afvalpunten).

Quick links to city garbage websites for your region:

Amsterdam Eindhoven The Hague Rotterdam Utrecht


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