Fun fact: the city of Amsterdam generates 300,000 tons of waste a year.

Trash Love


We’re starting out with underground dumpsters because I have a great interest in waste management. Before we go any further: do you know where your recycling goes? If yes, wow! If not, give it a lil’ searchy-poo! It is a scene, a situation, fucked up, wow you’ll think is that true?, and your search just may help you rethink and recondition yourself after the semi-scam of ‘go-green plastic is fun recycling’ spiel we were forced to eat in the late 90s / early 2000s. (Once I wore a Go Green! emblazoned t-shirt from Target to a bar in my early twenties and a guy approached me pointing; what’s that mean, he asked and I told him, I have no idea, only because I didn’t want to talk to him, but if I had thought about his question actually and critically (and of course, if he cared about the answer), we would have had quite the biophilosophical conversation, because what does it mean to go green at a bar you drove miles and miles to get to while wearing a mass produced t-shirt you bought from Target?) 

I’ve always lived in places where citizens had to toss their refuse into an above-ground dumpster, stand-up private trash can and/or recycling bin, or straight-up drive their trash miles and miles to the trash place. At this moment, I can’t remember what the trash place is called. Waste Management Systems Facility, probably? Someone fact-check that for me.

So, imagine my delight when I discover that Amsterdam has a bunch of underground dumpsters and recycling containers all throughout the city. Maybe you’re not into trash and if that’s the case, really strain your imagination.

You bring your trash to the thing, you open up the thingie, toss your trash in, close the thingie, voilà, clap your hands, you’re done! You’ve got the usual suspects of garbage, glass, paper. Some areas have clothing / fibre recycling, and plastic. In my general area, all the plastic recyclers have disappeared - I’m not entirely certain why (I should’ve used a minute to look this up!) Some of these receptacles contain a sensor that tells the city when it is fed up; others have a trash compacter within. Some of these containers stand alone, some stand in a group; sometimes they get adopted, which usually means they’re gussied up with astroturf, flower pots, and a human can be often be seen sweeping broken glass from between the cobblestones. These people are unsung heroes. Well, maybe they are sung, I just can’t hear it.

The trucks that drive through weekly look like standard garbage trucks, except they have a crane arm. This crane arm suckles onto the teat of the dumpster, pulls it out of the ground. To me, this is very cool. The container opens from the bottom, trash gets shook out. Farewell, trash-folks, and thank you. 

So much of Amsterdam has these, but they aren’t ubiquitous. You won’t find them in the city centre or ‘downtown’ areas. The infrastructure can’t handle it. The quays and houses are relatively fragile. The Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions is dreaming up something called the Roboat for these canal-rich areas. Their plan allows the waterways to serve their historic use as waste and goods transport. Their dream involves an autonomous boat that would cruise the canals and empty floating dumpsters. A graphic on their site made it seem like folks would be throwing their trash down from street-level, but I’m not convinced that’s accurate. Currently, city center folks leave their trash bags out on the sidewalk, a lá New York City. 

It was nice to read that Amsterdam (and the Netherlands in general) are pretty concerned and forward-thinking when it comes to waste and ways in which to handle / process it better.

That’s my time. Talk soon.



Trash Love


We’re starting out with underground dumpsters because I have a great interest in waste management. Before we go any further: do you know where your recycling goes? If yes, wow! If not, give it a lil’ searchy-poo! It is a scene, a situation, fucked up, wow you’ll think is that true?, and your search just may help you rethink and recondition yourself after the semi-scam of ‘go-green plastic is fun recycling’ spiel we were forced to eat in the late 90s / early 2000s. (Once I wore a Go Green! emblazoned t-shirt from Target to a bar in my early twenties and a guy approached me pointing; what’s that mean, he asked and I told him, I have no idea, only because I didn’t want to talk to him, but if I had thought about his question actually and critically (and of course, if he cared about the answer), we would have had quite the biophilosophical conversation, because what does it mean to go green at a bar you drove miles and miles to get to while wearing a mass produced t-shirt you bought from Target?) 

I’ve always lived in places where citizens had to toss their refuse into an above-ground dumpster, stand-up private trash can and/or recycling bin, or straight-up drive their trash miles and miles to the trash place. At this moment, I can’t remember what the trash place is called. Waste Management Systems Facility, probably? Someone fact-check that for me.

So, imagine my delight when I discover that Amsterdam has a bunch of underground dumpsters and recycling containers all throughout the city. Maybe you’re not into trash and if that’s the case, really strain your imagination.

You bring your trash to the thing, you open up the thingie, toss your trash in, close the thingie, voilà, clap your hands, you’re done! You’ve got the usual suspects of garbage, glass, paper. Some areas have clothing / fibre recycling, and plastic. In my general area, all the plastic recyclers have disappeared - I’m not entirely certain why (I should’ve used a minute to look this up!) Some of these receptacles contain a sensor that tells the city when it is fed up; others have a trash compacter within. Some of these containers stand alone, some stand in a group; sometimes they get adopted, which usually means they’re gussied up with astroturf, flower pots, and a human can be often be seen sweeping broken glass from between the cobblestones. These people are unsung heroes. Well, maybe they are sung, I just can’t hear it.

The trucks that drive through weekly look like standard garbage trucks, except they have a crane arm. This crane arm suckles onto the teat of the dumpster, pulls it out of the ground. To me, this is very cool. The container opens from the bottom, trash gets shook out. Farewell, trash-folks, and thank you. 

So much of Amsterdam has these, but they aren’t ubiquitous. You won’t find them in the city centre or ‘downtown’ areas. The infrastructure can’t handle it. The quays and houses are relatively fragile. The Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions is dreaming up something called the Roboat for these canal-rich areas. Their plan allows the waterways to serve their historic use as waste and goods transport. Their dream involves an autonomous boat that would cruise the canals and empty floating dumpsters. A graphic on their site made it seem like folks would be throwing their trash down from street-level, but I’m not convinced that’s accurate. Currently, city center folks leave their trash bags out on the sidewalk, a lá New York City. 

It was nice to read that Amsterdam (and the Netherlands in general) are pretty concerned and forward-thinking when it comes to waste and ways in which to handle / process it better.

That’s my time. Talk soon.


Fun fact: the city of Amsterdam generates 300,000 tons of waste a year.