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Separating waste

We have been separating waste in offices and workshops for some time. But there are more opportunities to separate waste, such as at stations and in the train. NS is carrying out a number of trials to determine the feasibility of these forms of waste separation.

Separating waste at the station

Waste produced at stations consists of a variety of materials and a significant proportion is paper, packaging materials (PMD) and organic. Since 2015, 'Waste separation and recycling' pilots have been running at several stations. Special instructional stickers on the waste bins inform passengers that waste is being separated. At some stations two types of waste flows are being collected, and at other stations three. The entire process from waste collection to waste processing has already been prepared and coordinated. From the cleaning staff responsible for collecting the separated waste to the waste processor. Our eventual goal is to collect 90% 'pure' waste flows, so that these can be properly recycled by the waste processor. The motto is: waste is a resource.

Waste separation in the train

Since 2015, our cleaning staff have been collecting newspapers and magazines separately. These are then recycled. Starting with the new timetable for 2017, the first trains with facilities for waste separation will start running in the South-East of the Netherlands. Starting on 1 January 2017, we will ask our passengers to place newspapers and magazines in the luggage racks once they have finished reading them. This way, multiple passengers will be able to read the same newspaper, which is good for the environment. Moreover, this way the newspapers will remain clean and dry, which makes them easier to recycle.

Green Deal

The pilots at the stations and in the trains are part of the 'Green Deal: waste reduction and recycling at train stations and in trains', an agreement between the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment, ProRail and NS. The objective is to reduce the quantity of waste at stations and in trains, collect separated waste and recycle waste into resources. As part of this plan, we intend to reduce the amount of waste by 25% to 9,000 tonnes by 2020 and recycle 75% of this waste: 6,750 tonnes. Here we refer to consumer waste (waste from transfer areas, shops and trains).

Separating waste in shops: Swill

Standard practice is to separate two waste flows behind almost all shops: residual waste and paper/cardboard/foil. In October 2015, a third waste flow was added for the shops 'de Broodzaak' and 'Julia's' at Rotterdam Centraal. Here, a pilot has been launched to separate 'Swill'. Swill is a term used to describe cooked and prepared kitchen waste and leftovers, such as potatoes, bread, drinks, coffee grounds, egg shells, chips, snacks, vegetables, fruit and dairy products. Separating swill makes waste easier and more environmentally friendly to process.

People with problems in the labour market take care of the logistics behind the shops. They retrieve containers from the sales premises and make sure that the containers are taken to waste processing as three separate waste streams. They are also responsible for bringing clean and empty containers back to the sales premises. The swill is used to make biogas or green energy, and the remainder is then used for compost.

As of 2016, swill is also being collected separately at Amsterdam Centraal.