Bergen op Zoom

Increased waste flows; fewer containers

Because of increasing waste flows, the city of Bergen op Zoom was looking to increase capacity, but without having to install new above-ground containers.

Increasing volumes of plastic also were being collected. In fact, this was too much for above-ground containers alone, so below-the-ground solutions had to be sought. Sidcon’s Presstation provided such a solution. In the meantime, 7 Presstations have now been successfully installed in Bergen op Zoom.

‘It was immediately apparent that we wanted underground containers. Whilst it was clear we had to increase capacity, we didn’t want any more containers at street level,’ explains Maarten Versluis, policy adviser for the Bergen op Zoom municipality. Sidcon sprung to mind, not least because of its track record in other towns and cities.

‘We heard good reports about the Presstation in the market’ Despite the fact that it was still a relatively new product in 2012, it had already earned its spurs. That was a key criterion for us. These positive experiences weighed more heavily than the price, we felt. Whilst the latter was perhaps higher, we would ultimately recoup the extra costs, not least because next to no maintenance is required and, of course, the compactors need emptying less frequently due to their larger capacity.’

‘Cleaner and tidier’

Now, over five years later, Bergen op Zoom is home to seven Presstations. In the main, waste recycling stations are located close to supermarkets and/or shopping centres where they are used intensively. So the extra capacity offered by the Presstation comes in extremely handy. Versluis points to an old photograph of a waste recycling centre when it only had above-ground containers.

‘For just one of the new Presstations, we needed ten of the old orange above-ground containers. Now it looks so much cleaner and tidier because everything – even the non-plastic containers – is underground.’

Taking off with the pass

When it acquired its Presstations, Bergen op Zoom chose to have them fitted with a wider opening, suitable for bags of up to 55 litres. Although this larger opening is safe enough, we decided to raise the bar and work with a pass system, so that residents can only open the container using the pass. Was this something they had to get used to? Versluis acknowledges this, but has never viewed it as a major obstacle.

‘People had to get accustomed to the idea that there was only one pass per household. If one member of the household takes off with the pass, no one else can use the Presstation. Now, nobody knows any different and the benefits are clear to see. The fact that there’s less rubbish around the containers is a big plus.’

Versluis has some clear advice for other municipalities:

‘Always opt for underground containers. It creates more space, reduces litter around the containers and the Presstation needs to be emptied less. We’re more than satisfied.’