One neighborhood in Amsterdam is trying an interesting solution, though: combining recycling and supporting local businesses.
The Noord district sits across the water from the rest of Amsterdam. It used to be pretty industrial — full of wharfs and shipyards — but in the last few decades, it has been revived as a cultural and arts center in the city. As of early 2015, it’s also been the center of a cool recycling experiment too.
The neighborhood is turning bags of trash into what are essentially coupons for local shops.
Amsterdam offers recycling centers where people can drop off their stuff, but it doesn’t have door-to-door pickup. Wasted, run by the Cities Foundation, helps fill some of that gap.
Households that opt in get special rubbish bags for plastic waste. Once full, the bags go outside and someone comes to pick them up. A few days later, the house gets a package full of special green plastic coins, courtesy of Wasted.