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EU Urban Mobility Observatory
News article19 April 20211 min read

Amsterdam trials waste collection by boat

The Dutch city of Amsterdam is experimenting with a new, cleaner, solution to waste disposal - using electrically powered boats, with a little help from the city’s well-developed system of canals.

Waste management is one of the key services every city government must provide, with widely variable service levels, costs and environmental impacts associated with different means of waste collection. However, Amsterdam's narrow streets make collecting and removing rubbish a somewhat onerous task, not to mention the emissions released by the waste collection trucks. These vehicles also cause significant congestion and risk damaging weakened bridges and canal walls.

As a result, authorities have turned to the waterways for a solution, trialling the new project in the Wallen and Nieuwmarkt area of the city. On Monday and Thursday mornings, the waste collection boats will be moored in the canals, and the waste collectors will throw the rubbish bags directly onto the boats from the side of the canal. In the surrounding streets, small waste trucks will collect the waste and take it to one of the boats. At around noon, when they are full, the boats will leave.

During the pilot, the city will seek feedback from local residents about their experiences with the trial. After the 6-month trial period, the authorities will decide whether to continue to collect residual household waste by boat in the Wallen and Nieuwmarkt area, and whether the trial can be expanded to other areas of the city.

This freight solution poses interesting best practice examples for other cities that are home to extensive canal or river systems. Many European cities are experimenting with alternative freight solutions, from e-bikes to drones. If Amsterdam’s pilot is successful, neighbouring cities may also look to their waterways for sustainable solutions.

Original article published by The Mayor on 23 March 2021.



Publication date
19 April 2021
  • Urban freight/city logistics
  • Netherlands