Zero Waste Lab – Waste as a currency

Just 27% of the waste in Amsterdam is separated, unlike the rest of the country where the figure is 51%. De Gezonde Stad’s ambition is to contribute to a circular economy with the Zero Waste Lab scheme and create awareness about the value of waste. The Zero Waste Lab by De Gezonde Stad is a local spot used to collect and upcycle waste. The community’s rubbish is exchanged for a local currency which can be used to buy goods and services at local shops. A first Zero Waste Lab opened in Amsterdam in 2016 and a second one came along in 2017.


"The aim is to recycle 3x more waste in 2020."


Local residents are supplied with a hopsack that they can use to collect a wide range of waste, including paper, plastic, textile, batteries, lamps, latex paint, vegetables, and fruit and e-waste. After handing in the bag, the resident receives a coin which he or she can use to, for example, buy a cup of coffee, to get a discount on groceries, clothing or reading glasses.

The waste will be reused or recycled. The lab itself serves as a place to inform the neighborhood about the benefits that recycling waste has for the environment, the city and the person.

The project is supported by Ymere, AEB, Gemeente Amsterdam, De Regenboog Groep, Milieuwerk, and EY. De Gezonde Stad also collaborates with market vendors of the Dappermarkt and local business persons of the Dapperbuurt, the Dapperschool, and the residents.