City without waste

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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.


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