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08 Apr 2021

A fine example of sustainable urban logistics

Inner cities are getting busier and busier. This calls for innovation, smart cooperation and mutual trust. Suez and Renewi have found common ground in the field of sustainable urban logistics. And it's not just a joint venture: they enjoy working closely with other parties in the sector. Their mutual focus point on the horizon is 2025 - the year in which inner cities must be emission-free.

Where for years different trucks from individual collectors collected commercial waste in the inner cities, collectors are increasingly working together. The result? Less traffic, less emissions, and more safety. “A fine example of sustainable urban logistics”, says Gerard Veldhuijzen, manager of Smart & City Logistics at Renewi.


New initiatives in the field of sustainable urban logistics are emerging all over the country. And the world of waste is no exception. According to Gerard Veldhuijzen, by combining forces waste collectors can considerably reduce CO2 emissions and the number of transport movements. In addition, the use of fewer and cleaner collection lorries will reduce noise pollution, improve traffic safety and increase traffic flow.

But how does it work in practice? In very concrete terms, it means that we no longer collect industrial waste by driving around in a row. We work together. We combine the various routes and one collector drives a neutral vehicle. Behind the scenes, we collaborate on a joint administration and optimise the routes,' he says.

Driving more efficiently

The approach works. It delivers environmental gains. In addition, more efficient driving leads to lower costs. This will allow us to purchase expensive zero-emission vehicles in the future and will ensure that the collection of industrial waste remains affordable in the future. Other advantages of the cooperation? We notice that the service level for the customer has improved. Where a customer used to be able to empty his containers two or three times a week, this can now often be done on a daily basis.

Haarlem got the scoop on other regions three years ago. Renewi worked closely together with Suez, GP Groot and public collector Spaarnelanden. Green Collecting, as the pilot was called, was a success. The most important thing we learned was the importance of mutual trust. Especially when it comes to business information and customer data. The solution turned out to be an independent ICT platform, where the assignments were linked. And where - when the work was done - each organisation could deal with the activity in its own system.

Interest in the approach

After Haarlem, Amsterdam, Gouda, Bergen op Zoom and Rozendaal followed, among others. And recently we started with smart and sustainable collection in Rotterdam and Venlo. Curiosity amongst municipalities is growing. The Association of Netherlands Municipalities (VNG) and the sectoral association NVRD are following the developments closely. Our aim is to have the 30 largest municipalities join us before 2023,' says Gerard Veldhuijzen.

According to Renewi's Smart & City Logistics Manager, this is only the beginning. The logistics sector is looking for opportunities. Like logistic hubs. And there is a critical look at issues such as reverse logistics: vans that enter a city full and leave empty. This can be done differently,' he says. You see more and more electric alternatives on the streets. In our sector, too, you see more and more finely-meshed solutions emerging, from electric carrier bicycles to electric boats.

According to Gerard Veldhuijzen, sustainable urban logistics is all about cooperation, mutual trust and coming up with creative solutions. “Pioneering. The role of ICT is important here. ICT can have a binding effect”, he concludes.


Renewi focuses on obtaining value from waste and strives to be the leading waste-to-product company.


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