Waste reduction

NS produced around 18 thousand tons of waste in 2017 in its trains and at its workshops, stations and offices. Our aim is to be more efficient in our use of materials and for new raw materials to be extracted from the waste. When disposing of materials, we look first to see whether the product can be reused, then we consider the reuse of product parts and finally the option of recycling the materials. Because we spend over a billion euros on goods and services every year, our measures can help boost the circular economy: NS ensures that manufacturers or suppliers can take the products or materials at the end of their useful life or phase of operation and reuse them in a new cycle, thereby not generating any waste.

2020: 80% of waste recycled as raw materials

By 2020, we want 80% of our waste to be recycled as raw materials for new products. We aim to achieve this for example by:

  • separating out waste at the source and after use

  • putting circular-economy procurement into practice when purchasing materials

  • organising process ownership (waste managers) throughout NS in order to achieve waste targets

  • collaborating with key stakeholders such as suppliers and ProRail

  • Green Deal for circular-economy procurement

  • Green Deal for waste reduction and recycling at stations and in trains.

Waste: our results in 2017

  • 41.8% of waste was separated in offices, workshops, stations and trains

  • 3.4% less waste compared with 2016

Staff at our workshops were able to separate over 81.2% of the waste in 2017. At stations and in trains, the amount of waste fell (by 4.5% compared with 2016) because fewer newspapers were handed out at stations. More separation of waste meant that we were able to offer 25% of the waste at stations and in trains for recycling in 2017.

Waste at stations and in trains: more separation, less waste

In 2017, we started a trial for taking residual waste to post-separation plants. This resulted in a significant increase in the percentage of waste that is separated. The project in which passengers were asked to leave their newspapers in the luggage rack after reading them was also successful. The total number of copies of a newspaper could be reduced as more people were reading each individual copy. Promotion teams informed passengers about waste separation at eight stations and in the FLIRT trains, where passengers are able to separate out the waste they discard.

Recycling in the maintenance and upgrades of trains

NS is upgrading the VIRM type double-decker trains. In this upgrade process, we reuse 86% of the ‘old’ train, including the shell, insulation, doors, screens, control panels, destination indicators, stairs and front windscreen. Components that are no longer usable, such as interior elements and upholstery, are used wherever possible as replacement parts for the rail fleet. The remaining components are collected and separated as much as possible for recycling. For instance, the rubber fittings around the windows are collected separately and then recycled as rubber play tiles. Side walls and luggage racks are suitable for tables and cupboards.
With the reuse of materials from the old train (86%) and recycling of the bulk of the remaining 14% of the materials that are removed, a total of over 95% of the materials in the train are given a new lease of life. Our goal is to have an entirely closed cycle. Studies and pilot projects are being carried out to help achieve this.