Digging through trash to get cash

RNW archive

This article is part of the RNW archive. RNW is the former Radio Netherlands Worldwide or Wereldomroep, which was founded as the Dutch international public broadcaster in 1947. In 2011, the Dutch government decided to cut funding and shift RNW from the ministry of Education, Culture and Science to the ministry of Foreign Affairs. More information about RNW Media’s current activities can be found at https://www.rnw.org/about-rnw-media.

Trash is worth money - big money - and it's being stolen more and more frequently.

In Amsterdam, enterprising individuals known as "morgensterren" (morning stars) drive small lorries around the city in search of objects that can be recyled or sold. People are also tearing into rubbish bags, in search of valuable textiles or metal. 

As a result, many of the Dutch capital's pavements are filthy. Amsterdammers are complaining, garbage collectors are furious, and the city is losing a lot of income: it has seen a 20% drop in income from recyclable and resaleable waste over the past year. 

Many areas in Amsterdam have underground containers where people can dump their bags, but that's not the case in the city centre.