Municipality of Harderwijk

A step forward for everyone involved

Clear communication, fewer questions from residents and more flexibility in the organisation of efficient waste collection were necesary. Harderwijk's new personalised waste collection calendar has made all of this possible.

The municipality of Harderwijk gathers all kinds of waste from no fewer than 18,000 'collection points'. This waste includes organic, paper, glass, chemical and others. Plastic is separated from the other waste after collection. In 2010 the local authority introduced a number of improvements to the waste collection system, also in relation to the communication set-up.

Mini containers with a built-in chip

The first steps were taken in 2010 when all the mini containers were replaced with ones which had a built-in chip. Previously the containers had not been registered per household. The new system would prevent households from using multiple containers without paying the extra fee required. As policy administrator for Public Space Management, Fred van Tol is in charge of the waste collection system in Harderwijk: "By introducing the chip, all of the containers could be registered. In this way we could monitor the number of containers per household. Furthermore, there has been a reduction in the amount of containers needed. This cuts down costs. We also introduced the paper container in 2010. Households now have three containers at their disposal: for organic, paper and general waste."

1 to 1 communication on waste

Additionally, the municipality of Harderwijk also wanted to simplify communication with regard to waste. Every year, households have to pay local charges like  property, sewer and waste taxes. These are sent to the residents' individual addresses. We also have the waste collection calendar, which is also delivered to individual households. "We wanted to discontinue this system and thanks to the new waste collection calendar from AddComm we now have one less thing to worry about," says van Tol.

Entirely Harderwijk

Since 2011, Harderwijk has been using a fully personalised waste collection calendar. The waste collection company ACONOV supplies the collection routes and the planning. "The local tax department compares the number of households with the charges. Thanks to this information they have a lot more control over the process." AddComm produces and sends the printed material, to which the local authority sets certain demands. "AddComm called it the waste indicator at first, but we wanted it to be more like a real calendar prominently featuring the collection dates and icons for various kinds of waste. On the inside there is an explanation of how the system works in Harderwijk. With AddComm we were able to decide on the form and content ourselves. This meant we could give the calendar a look that was 100% Harderwijk, using the style which residents are familiar with," says Fred van Tol.

Improved distribution

Because the new waste collection calendar is addressed individually, residents pay more attention to this system than to the previously unaddressed distribution system. "The calendar doesn't accidentally disappear into the waste paper bin as quickly any more. We've noticed the difference at city hall: Now we have fewer and fewer people contacting us for a new copy of the waste collection calendar. For this year we have extra spare calendars for each neighbourhood. That probably won't be necessary next year. Thanks to the digitalisation of the system we can now print and distribute calendars if and when we need them. For example, for new residents or businesses."

Digital calendar

The municipality of Harderwijk also introduced a digital version of the printed waste collection calendar. Residents can download it via a link on the municipality of Hardewijk website. Based on the postal code and the house number, the system at AddComm generates a PDF with the correct waste collection information. "New residents, in particular, are very happy with this service," says Fred van Tol.


The system also offers more flexibility to the collector of mini containers. Any given street can be added to a different route on a different day without any problems: The system automatically adjusts the calendar for the next year. "The collector has more flexibility when it comes to allocating and planning the routes. In terms of costs, this is also beneficial for both us and the  municipality. The system offers endless possibilities. We could even zoom in more on the residents' location For example, with a high-rise version for flats using underground containers instead of mini containers. But everything has its price, of course."

Fast and flexible

"The implementation was very flexible," says Fred van Tol. "AddComm provided us with trial prints on a regular basis and we were able to make changes right up until the last moment. Nothing was too much trouble. My impression of AddComm is that of a young and vibrant company. They keep their promises and act fast. For example, we discovered a number of errors in the route information. They saw to it on the very same day. They will accommodate you at any time, even when they have already gone to print."

Waste collection calendar via SMS

Looking to the future, Fred van Tol expects to see a definite shift from the printed to the digital calendar. "In the end, Harderwijk aims to cut back on postage costs as much as possible. In this way residents will be able to download their waste collection calendar to their computer or smartphone. The digital waste collection calendar is the future. Of course, some people will want to receive the calendar digitally and others will want one they can hang on the wall at home. In the future everybody will be able to choose the manner in which they wish to receive information. In other words, tailor-made."

In addition to the paper and digital waste collection calendar, AddComm also offers the option of sending weekly text messages. Van Tol can see the potential: "That would be a great extra service for our residents. We will keep on top of these kinds of developments and implement them where possible." 

A step forward

"We have taken an important step forward, both for the residents and for the waste collection company, not to mention the municipality itself. Communication with regard to waste collection has become more personal and a lot clearer. We have become more flexible and that will eventually lead to cost reductions. All in all a major improvement for the people of Harderwijk."