The City of Amsterdam became the first city in the world to join WWF's Plastic Smart Cities initiative on 20 June 2019. The city designated a pilot area for best practice implementation, with a goal to reduce plastic pollution in the pilot area by 30% by 2021. The city also developed a monitoring action plan and pledged to share progress in their sustainability reporting, as well as working to achieve the ambitious goal of No Plastic in Nature by 2030.
Amsterdam is the capital city and most populous municipality in The Netherlands, with an estimated 866,737 people living within city proper, 1,380,872 in the urban area and 2,410,960 in the metropolitan area. Amsterdam has more than 100 kilometers (60 miles) of canals, with the City being connected to the North Sea by the North Sea Canal.
Amsterdam Clean Water Initiative
Amsterdam Clean Water was founded in 2016 by the municipality of Amsterdam, Waternet, Port of Amsterdam, Plastic Soup Foundation, PlasticsEurope Nederland, NRK and Berenschot, as part of a large central ‘clean city’ project. It is a long-term program aimed at bringing structural change to waste management concerning the waters of Amsterdam. The goal of the program is to reduce the amount of litter that ends up in canals and the IJ River each year. Within the program, several activities and projects are organized each year to raise awareness and create structural solutions.
Amsterdammertje: the sustainable water bottle
Amsterdam Plastic Smart City has teamed up with Amsterdam Merchandising to develop an iconic, reusable water bottle: the Amsterdammertje. The plastic of this bottle is made from the remains of sugar cane. In the city there are more than 500 free water taps where you can fill the water bottle.
Terraces without disposable plastic
Cafés and restaurants in the area between Amstel Station and City Hall will stop using single-use plastic on their terraces. Amsterdam hopes that all catering entrepreneurs will follow this example.
The Bubble Barrier
A 'Bubble Barrier' has been installed in the Westerdok since the autumn of 2019. This is a bubble screen that prevents plastic from ending up in the North Sea from Amsterdam's canals. The bubble screen doesn't just collect plastic that is visible. The Bubble Barrier's rising bubbles push debris up from below the water's surface. The natural flow of the water pushes the plastic towards the collection system on the quay. The Bubble Barrier forms a barrier to plastic, but allows fish and other animals to pass through. Amsterdam's aquatic life is not bothered by the bubbles. In fact, the oxygen level in the water increases thanks to the bubbles. This is good for the ecosystem and prevents toxic blue algae from growing.