Separation at the source or post-separation?


Source separation or subsequent separation, it is a frequently asked question. One municipality collects the waste separately, the other municipality throws everything in one heap, after which the waste is pulled apart and separated in a factory. You will find the answer to this question at the bottom of this article.

Every little bit helps
Suppose you produce one kilogram of waste every week. A year has 52 weeks, so that’s 52 kilos per year. Not too bad, right?

Now consider that every inhabitant of the Netherlands produces one kilo of waste, and that we have over 17 million inhabitants. That is therefore 52 times 17 million on an annual basis, so 884 million kilos of waste per year.
Is it still not that bad now? If so, take a look at this fact from Milieu Centraal and do the math again.

Separating plastic gives space in the waste bin
Plastic waste can be folded in all possible ways and crammed together. It is more compact, so you can use every square centimeter of that waste bag and dispose of more waste in one go.

The same principle applies to the glass container. It doesn’t collect glass jars, but glass shards. If we were to stack glass jars, the inside of each jar would be empty space. By breaking the glass, the space in a glass container is used more efficiently and more glass jars can be collected at one time.

Less CO2
Residual waste is incinerated in the oven. The more waste we reuse, the less residual waste that needs to be burned. CO2 is released during combustion. Less combustion means less CO2 emissions, so better air quality. It’s that simple.

Moreover, reuse of raw materials means that we need fewer new raw materials and can also save the earth in this way.

Less incineration means less costs
When everyone separates waste at home or at the office, we can separate and reuse more types of waste. People can still do more than the machines in the factory that provide post-separation. That is better for the environment.

Processing separated waste is often also cheaper to process, because the government imposes a waste tax on the incineration of residual waste. More waste that is suitable for reuse means less residual waste. That is also an advantage for your wallet, because if the costs are lower, the waste tax can also be reduced.

Source separation and post separation
It is not source separation or post separation. It is source separation and post separation. When post-separation is used as a supplement to source separation, most waste is reused and the least residual waste incinerated.