City without waste

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‘Tag It!’… The Future of Bulky Waste

During the last two sprints we further developed our new bulky waste system, called ‘Tag It!’.

How does it work?


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In the new waste system ‘Tag It’ bulky waste is tagged with geolocated stickers. The stickers vary on prices based on three variables: time priority (high or low time priority), size (small or large) and type of waste (regular/other or electronic waste). The stickers contain a QR code, which needs to be scanned to activate. To activate the stickers an application was developed. This application is also necessary to select a time frame to know when one can put their bulky waste out. In addition one can create a profile, check which sticker one need, see how one’s district is performing, use a responsive map to see where one can go with the bulky waste and order the stickers online. Besides online, stickers can be bought at any selling points spread throughout Amsterdam.

Due the integration of geolocated software in the sticker once the stickers are scanned and an appointment is set, the municipality receives information about what kind of waste there is and where it is located. Moreover, by having different time priorities the municipality can plan the routes ahead and drive more cost-efficient when picking up the bulky waste.

The prices are kept relatively low for several reasons. In the current bulky waste system of Amsterdam, citizens do not have to pay any money to make use of the service besides the annual waste tax. Resistance and refusal is expected when the prices are initially high for the stickers. Secondly, it is important that citizens think about the costs of waste procession. By having a price for the stickers a sustainable mindset is reinforced. Finally, due the fact that it costs money the free alternative becomes more attractive: the alternative to throw bulky waste away at the waste collecting points.

At the end of each year citizens receive a tax benefit. This tax benefit is calculated per district and is based on the production of bulky waste. The more citizens use the new waste system correctly, the more tax benefits the citizens of that district earn. Community engagement is supported through the possibility to see how your district is performing at any given time. This reward system should motivate citizens to make use of the system.

The final steps

We created several games with the purpose of attracting people their attention and to start a conversation with them about our concepts. The feedback we received by talking to them about our concept was taking into consideration and when useful applied to improve our concept.

To decide on the price of the stickers we did a SWOT-analysis for the different price options. At the end we decided on a relatively low price for the stickers in order to create awareness among citizens that waste processing costs money and encouraging citizens to go to the free waste points, however while making the stickers also affordable.



On June 21st  we had an expo, LabFest, here projects were presented from different organizations that collaborate with the Amsterdam Creative Industries Network (ACIN). Each project had their own stand. We decided to present our product in the form of a customer experience. We recreated a shop with our stand and wanted to represent the experience a customer has when they haven’t got a smartphone and need to ask help to the staff. The reactions we received were all positive and people thought it could actually replace the current waste system in Amsterdam.

On June 22nd we had our final presentation to the municipality. De waste department of the municipality of Amsterdam was invited to join our presentation. Our presentation had the form of a product pitch. In our presentation we talked about the process and our product, led a discussion and gave our public the chance to check out our product. Overall, the municipality was very enthusiastic about our product and they want us to continue working on it. They were talking about doing an actual pilot to test our product in reality. We were satisfied with their response to our product; are extremely proud of the end product ourselves as well. We are certain that it is only a matter of time until ‘Tag It!’ is implemented in Amsterdam and possibly other cities!



Waste Management Amsterdam: Sprint 3

From Tokyo to Amsterdam… First Solution Propositions

Last sprint we determined the variables that influence the behavior of throwing away bulky waste at the waste points. Our findings suggested that four variables influence the behavior of throwing away bulky the most. These variables represent: knowledge, feasibility, the role of community and the feeling of the experience of bringing the bulky waste to the waste points. Before thinking about possible solutions that influence these variables, we started this sprint with doing some research.

We analyzed how waste related organizations in Amsterdam, foreign countries and the city Utrecht focus on these variables. The waste related organizations we researched were ‘Zero Waste Lab’ and ‘Plastic Whale’. Germany, Japan and Sweden were selected as countries to analyze, because these countries score among the best in relation to recycling and sustainability. Finally, we focused on Utrecht, because the municipality of Amsterdam showed special interest in their waste management system.

We got some valuable insights from these analyses. Germany for example has a lot of educational programs and an integrated online platform where citizens can trade and give away furniture. Japan makes use of a sticker system, citizens can buy stickers in places like the supermarket and put these on their bulky waste. The citizens themselves do not visit the waste points at all! In Sweden most of the waste is collected through mobile recycling points, the design of those points are minimalistic due the low desire of people to spend a lot of time there. Both Germany and Japan make use of a fine system to penalize wrong behavior, whereas Sweden doesn’t give any fines. None of the waste pick-up services are free, in contrast to the system in Amsterdam. The waste related organizations in Amsterdam emphasized community involvement, proactive learning and increasing the environmental awareness among citizens. We learnt that it is hard for these organizations to keep momentum. To our surprise the bulky waste system in Utrecht is very similar to the system in Amsterdam. If anything we thought that the system in Utrecht is even less cost-efficient and eco-friendly.

We did some brainstorming and combined different aspects of the analyses that had proven to be successful. This resulted in three ideas. Before we started working on the mock-ups of those ideas, we made a business model canvas for each idea. This forced us to think all our ideas through thoroughly, leading to actual viable ideas.

The different ideas will now be discussed shortly. The first idea is a mobile bulky waste point in the form of a boat. Utilizing one of the qualities Amsterdam is known for, its canals! We want to develop a sustainable boat that picks-up bulky waste at multiple stops throughout the waters of Amsterdam. It has to be an entertaining experience that attracts attention but most importantly creates top of mind awareness. Nobody will not think about the boat when faced with the decision of throwing away bulky waste. The second idea is focused on community engagement. The municipality of Amsterdam will collaborate with private organizations. These collaborations are focused on increasing environmental awareness among citizens, by providing educational programs and spaces where people can bring away, repair, strip down or transform their old furniture. Bulky waste remains in the community. Collaborations are done with private organizations that are part of the daily routine of the citizens. Finally, the third idea, is an online platform. We want to create an user-friendly online platform that is accessible to all citizens. On this online platform it is possible to rent, give-away and trade furniture. The rent-service is under control of the municipality. Citizens that want to get rid of furniture can put them available online for free, or trade them. This way the furniture remains in the community.

During the meeting with the municipality of Amsterdam it became clear, which concepts and aspects we have to focus on in the upcoming sprint. The municipality would like us to further explore the bulky boat and the community engagement project. In addition a third concept was introduced: a sticker system. This concept focuses on bulky waste that cannot be reused anymore. To conclude: this sprint had proven to be successful and the municipality was satisfied with the progress we made.


Waste Management elsewhere

After presenting our findings of the last sprint to the municipality, we’re heading straight into the next sprint. Later this sprint, we’ll focus on creating concepts meant to actually solve (part of) the problem. However, to prevent us from coming up with concepts that have been tried before, and proven to not work, we’ll do one final bit of research. We’re looking into the solutions used in other cities across the world.

-Utrecht (Netherlands)
-Fukuoka (Japan)
-Stockholm (Sweden)

We’ve chosen these specific four cities because right now we’re under the impression that these cities in particular have their waste system figured out really well. Our research will tell us whether or not this is actually the case, and if so, what aspects would work here in Amsterdam as well.

Aside from researching the four cities, part of our team is also researching several projects in Amsterdam itself. These are projects that are not necessarily directly related to bulky waste. Though there’s at least a link in general theme each time.  These projects include topics like recycling mostly. We have visited several of these projects already, and intend to visit them all. At each project we’ll have a look around of course, but other than that we also interview the people there in charge. We have prepared a certain set of questions we like to ask to each of them.

The places we’ve (attempted to) visit(ed) so far are:
-Zero Waste Lab

However, UpCycle turned out to be closed, seemingly permanently.
Wasted was nowhere to be found at the address provided on their website.
FabLab didn’t have time to answer our questions.


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he UpSycle store being closed

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Zero Waste Lab is the only place we’ve successfully visited so far.

On the first visit to Zero Waste Lab we had the unfortunate luck that only an intern was present in the place. She couldn’t answer all our questions, but still provided some useful answers.
Since then, one of us has visited the Zero Waste Lab again. This time there were more people present.

Since UpCycle seemingly doesn’t exist anymore (though they could be merely renovating their place), they particulary can give us useful insights into what went wrong there that caused them to have to shut down (or what went so right that they have money to renovate the place). We’ve send them an email asking for an interview anyway.
The same is true for Wasted.

FabLab we’ve also sent a mail, since they told us it’d be better to make an appointment.
We plan on putting all these findings into matrices so that we can quickly see what aspect would/would not work.

RecyQ is a place we have yet to visit, though we’ve already attempted to contact them by mail shortly before writing this blog entry.
None of the places have responded to mails yet.

Additional to all this we’ve also worked on concepts already during the workshop with Charlie. We will certainly test these out later this sprint on our models existing of both the matrices, and the personas from last sprint.
We won’t just yet share these concepts, as they’ll need more refining. But there’s some promising stuff in there already.


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Charlie in his workshop

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The team working on concepts and putting together several findings.

More to come of this for sure.

How to understand the different behaviors?

After a lot of in-depth interviews, we decided to collect data on a bigger scale by surveying people. The survey is based on the theory of planned behavior, we wanted to understand which variables are determining the behavior of throwing away bulky waste at the waste points.

The survey consisted of questions measuring the attitude, the subjective norm and the perceived behavioral control. We divided the citizens of Amsterdam in different personas, to establish the similarities and differences between personas in achieving the desired behavior.

You can fill in the survey yourself by clicking on the link.

We found 8 different personas. Cititzens of Amsterdam with the Dutch nationality, Western immigrants, non-Western immigrants, Middle-Eastern or Moroccan nationality, people over 60, students, people with a relative high income and families.



The data was analyzed in the statistics programm SPSS. Multiple regression analyses were done for the different personas in relation to the intention and past behavior (of throwing away bulky waste at the waste points). These findings are summarized in a research report and is the starting point for the next sprints. We now by which variables the behavior of the different personas is determined.

We created two ‘games’ to present the data of the different personas.

We designed a game called ‘GUESS WHO?’. In this game you have to guess who you are based on the answers provided by the computer to questions related to waste behavior and demographic information. The aim of this game is to show players that most of the assumptions they hold are wrong and thus actually don’t understand the citizens of Amsterdam. Understanding your target group is the first step in creating a solution.


Link for the GUESS WHO? game:

Another game that we dIMG_7757esigned is called ‘TOP BEHAVIORS’. This game educates player of the variables that determine one’s behaIMG_7758vior. There are five
categories: attitude, subjective norm, perceived control, knowledge and past behavior. The cards are divided among the players. Every player takes one card. One player pick
s a category. Every player shares their score for that category. The player with the highest score receives all the cards that were ‘battling’ it out against each other. Everyone takes their next card. The player who has all cards wins. The category scores are based on our data. In this game players compare the scores of the categories and learn which persona scores relatively well or poor on a category. Players get educated about the different personas in a fun way.

At the end of the sprint we presented our process, the games and our insights to the municipality of Amsterdam.





The People

In this second meeting, after one month from the first one, we presented our research about the different users to Tim, our partner from the municipality.

During this period, we did a lot of interviews to very different people that live in Amsterdam and use the service. chart

The “Confession Bin” was the “interview room”, so the people, after one first interview, went inside to answer other question, more abstract and personal about the relationship the they had with their old furnitures, to look and think at the object more like a person.



Interviews in the “Confession Bin”

After the ideation and the realization of our “Confession Bin”, we’re ready to start with the interview. We’ve tried setting up our booth on several locations, in the end we chose the place with more people, a park.

We gave people a tablet with a questionnaire app we made ourselves. They had to answer the questions secretly in privacy inside the confession bin.  The questions asked about the relationship with your bulky waste. Some of questions were multiple choice, and some allowed people to record themselves to actually speak up. Most questions were open-questions with an input field. With this app, we tried to gather as much data as we could.

We attempted to get people from different ethnic groups to use the app.  Women, men, young and old people, even students. We could use this to have more data, about different users, to check and analyze.

Another part of our interview was more interactive, we used another method to do this:  face to face interviews.




Now it’s time to analyze all the interviews!! Afterwards we’ll know more about citizens of  Amsterdam.

Maker Sprint

confession bin

The Maker Sprint started with a deadline already!! In two days we had to formulate and define the PROBLEMS and make a prototype.

As Loes, our coach for this Maker Sprint said “The problem is to find the right problem”

So… What is the real problem? The citizens and the other users of the city don’t have a common education that shows respect for the city and its environment, but also the municipality is not the great example of communication. There is a wide sector of the population that can’t access the waste collection points, and the urban planning of the city doesn’t contemplate the integration of them in the current organisation.

So after 7h of nonstop talking, researching, arguing and agreeing, we ended up with the idea of a prototype… can you guess it?


A confessional is a box, cabinet, or stall in which the priest in Christian churches sits to hear the confessions of penitents.  Change the priest for a bright screen (that enlights you with a very personal questionaire) and change the christian church for a very very dirty street in Amsterdam. That is the Confession Bin.

The confession bin acts in two very important moments of the bulky waste process. Imagine yourself buying new furniture in IKEA, imagine yourself now that before paying anything, you have to enter a nice but misterious black cabin. There, you will face a personal talk that will make you rethink about your waste:

confession bin 3

Imagine now that you are moving out, everything is a big mess, and after spending two or three days carrying your heavy old couch that doesn´t mean anything more to you. You´ve thought about selling it at the Marktplaats but it seems too slow, you´ve thought of just giving it to a friend but anyone seems to need an old couch. The recycling attempt only lasts for 5 min in your mind; only thinking about trying to go to the waste collection point 5 km away and rent a car seems impossible.

Then, you do it, you put your old in the street. Close to some trash containers, just in case.



On the grey and snowy morning of Wednesday 8th, we met at one of the recycling facilities of the municipality of Amsterdam, in the south of the city.



We met Anita Numan, Nove and Ruben, who are working at the local government of Amsterdam in different fields such as urban planning and sustainability or innovation projects and are going to be our partners during this project. We exchanged the insights that we had been gathering during the first week with the several workshops and we started to have a clearer idea of what is the PROBLEM, at least, from the municipality´s perspective.


…And we started to realise that it is going to be one of those wicked problems



The municipality


We discussed about whether the points would actually be able to handle a 100% city usage load. They’re only open from 9-5 on Mon-Saturday, so is only on Saturdays when most of the people are actually available to use the waste points. We also did a bit of brainstorming unconsciously around the idea of gamification, what if you earned points with bringing the trash to the correct waste collection points?


 “How do we get people here, and keep them here?”   Ruben

 “No city in the world is particularly awesome in this problem. Let’s make Amsterdam the first then”  Nove

The first week

In our first week, we got to know each other.
We are Leon, Bea, Kazumitsu, Raquel and Max, the next 20 weeks, we’ll be working on finding ways to get people to not just dump their trash on the streets.

On our first day we mostly just talked about ourselves, getting to know each other.

The second day was action right away. We teamed up and worked with little-bits, basically circuitry-lego, and we made a prototype of what could possibly have been the problem. We built the WifI’m full bin. A bin with a sensor that knows when it’s full, and then transmits this information to a network, on which an app would tell citizens what bins nearby are full (so they know not to go there), and also tell the municipality what bins are full, so they know which ones to empty. It could also keep track of all the data, to eventually make predictions about whether or not bins would be full.
Of course, our little prototype couldn’t do all that, it could only tell whether or not it was full.

bin bot


On the third day we started on our user scene. We did all the filming in Osdorp. It was pretty tough to find garbage.IMG_3786


On the fourth day we did all the editing for the user scene, as well as creating a flag for our team. We presented both.IMG_3870


The fifth day, the last day of the first week, we wrote breakup letters to apps we hated, we made baloon-decorations with letters, and made a bridge from small wooden sticks.
After that, we worked a bit on preparations for the following day, in which we’d have a meeting with our partner, the municipality of Amsterdam.IMG_3886

Bin-Bot or… (WiFi) I’m full


With Little Bits and Makey Makey we prototyped our first ideas about the City without waste



“WiFi’m full!”


bin bot