Separating PMD and plastic waste

afval scheiden design At Balkonton you also buy the beautiful design waste separator BinBang. For separating your glass, paper, organic waste, residual waste, depositetc. If you do not yet separate plastic or have questions about this, read the blog below about separating PMD (Plastic Metal Beverage Cartons).

Do we have to separate plastic? YES SIR!

In September 2017, the NOS headlined that separating plastic waste is pointless, because hardly any environmental benefits are achieved. One of the main arguments is that the way plastic is now collected, the plastics are difficult to reuse. This is because there is sometimes organic waste with the plastic waste and there are some plastics that are not allowed in the PMD, but people do this anyway.

Some municipalities are now considering switching to large post-separation installations. Especially where there is little room for separate collection, or in neighborhoods where there is poor separation. But no matter how efficient those installations are: If you hand in separately (and do it well), that is always preferable to aiming everything together. If there is then a post-separation through your residual waste, that delivers the best result.

Instead of suddenly abruptly stopping PMD divorce again, now that we have actually just been working for a few years, we propose to increase it a notch. Let’s separate more PMD and do better at the same time! And that is exactly what we want to achieve with this blog.

What is PMD?

PMD therefore stands for packaging material of plastic, metal / cans and beverage cartons. The name suggests that all plastics can be added, but unfortunately it is not that easy. This only concerns packaging material, all other plastic does not belong in the PMD bin.


Soda can
PMD, with the M of Metal, so can is a YESTrays or bottles of sauce
Yes, hearSandwich bags

Meal salad packaging
Beyond doubt

Tea light:
yes, because is tin, please without candle wax

Milk cartons
Yes, because beverage cartons

It is more difficult to extract this from residual waste than other metal. That is why it is extra good to separate aluminum.

Yogurt cup:
The cup does, but please pull the aluminum lid off. Sometimes there is also cardboard around it, this in turn with cardboard ????

Bowl of fruit
Yes because plastic

Soft drink bottles
Sometimes! Check if there is no deposit on it… no deposit? Then at PMD.

See the explanation later in this blog

Compostable Plastic
Compostable plastic with the seedling logo or the OK-compost label can sometimes be used with organic waste. But certainly NEVER with your PMD. Composting these plastics yourself is very complicated. See explanation later ind this blog
Aerosols (whipped cream and deodorant)
Usually not. Check per municipality.
Paint cans
Chemical agents (paint) with residues also do not, which belong to small chemical waste. Clean paint cans may be added to the residual waste. turpentine
Lids, metal, of glass jars
These can be taken with the glass jar in the glass container, so your bag does not get dirty. But of course you can also throw the metal lid at the PMD.
PET bottles
No, nice return, you get a deposit for this!
Chip bags
Layer of aluminium, due to the fusion
Plastic fork/cutlery/plates (disposable) crockery
No. only packaging plastic. so no product.
cd case
In the case of residual waste
styrofoam packaging
Is also made from petroleum (Styrene), but cannot be recycled at the PMD.
Neat of oranges etc.
No, because it’s hard to separate.
Coffee packaging
Nope, because this has an aluminum layer
Plastic toys
Unfortunately, product and no packaging. Take it to a thrift store or if it’s broken to the environmental street.
Medicine / chewing gum strips
Residual waste! Because contain an aluminum layer


Do you have a question about a product that we have not yet listed? Let us know, or check the Waste Separation Guide of Milieu Centraal.

Note: what about in your municipality?

To make it easy, each municipality has different guidelines. So check with your own municipality whether you can separate plastic, PD or PMD and what is covered. The above diagram was created for PMD. Can you only return Plastic or PD… then you can use this scheme to keep the recyclable and non-recyclable plastics apart, but it is best to ignore everything about cans, beverage cartons and aluminum and… unfortunately peanut butter… throw in the residual bag.

Why can’t all the plastic be in the PMD bin?

There are many different types of plastic. Packaging materials are often made of a different type of plastic than products such as toys. That is why they must also be recycled in a different way.

Bioplastics: unfortunately (still?) with the residual waste

Most plastics are made from petroleum. There is also bioplastic or biobased plastic, which is made from plants. This is seen as a renewable raw material, because you will always be able to harvest and sow new plants to make new bioplastic. Bio (based) plastic is plastic that is made of plant material. How recyclable is bioplastic?

Technically, it is possible to recycle bioplastic separately, but since bioplastic is rarely used, it does not pay to recycle bioplastic at the moment. Throwing bioplastic with ordinary plastic is therefore not the intention! Bioplastic now makes ordinary plastic weaker when it is processed together. That is why it is better to throw bioplastic with residual waste.

The term bioplastic is somewhat confusing, because bioplastic packaging is not necessarily compostable. Conversely, there are plastic packaging based on petroleum that can be composted. Whether a packaging is compostable can be seen from the seedling logo or the OK-compost label that are on the packaging.

Making compost from plastic – is that possible?


OK compost Kiemplantlogo

The only fully compostable plastics can be recognized by the logos ‘Seedling’ and ‘Ok compost’. This material completely decays into water and carbon dioxide and therefore does not pollute, but also does not add anything to the compost.

Nevertheless, the Compost Guild advises compostable plastic to only be added to the organic waste if they are ‘carriers’ of organic waste: the cellophane around the rotten cucumber, or a bag around your organic waste.

In your own compost (at home or in the garden) it is better not to throw any biodegradable plastics at all. Most of these so-called compostable plastics only compost under controlled process conditions. If you just put it in the ground, it can still be there after years.

What can you do with plastic that is not packaging material?

Plastic that is not a packaging material is not allowed in PMD. But what do you do with it? Give plastic items such as toys, Tupperware containers and garden chairs a second life. Take them to the thrift store or check if there is a “Free to pick up” Facebook page for your neighborhood. Furthermore, you can bring plastic that is not packaging material to the environmental street in your municipality, in many cases this is free of charge.

In addition, there are super cool initiatives that can do something with your plastic waste. For example, Wasteboards makes skateboards from plastic bottle caps! And Adidas has developed the Parley Shoe, made from plastic waste fished out of the oceans!


Why is there so much plastic around everything you buy?

Everything seems to be plastic! Is that really necessary? In some cases (such as fragile fruits and vegetables – strawberries and cucumbers) it is good that they are packaged in plastic, as this prevents spoilage and damage. Throwing away vegetables that are no longer good (and which has already been preceded by a whole cultivation and transport process) is more harmful to the environment than the layer of plastic that is around these products. Especially fruit and vegetables that travel long distances are more at risk of being damaged, which is why these products are often also provided with an extra jacket.

Beam me up! Vegetables, fruit & lasers

Of course, not all products are so fragile and enough fruit and vegetables are produced locally. In a lot of cases, it is therefore not necessary to package a product in plastic. In order to be able to label the products without plastic, the Natural Branding technique can be applied, an innovative technique with which Eosta from Waddinxveen has started working for various supermarkets to replace plastic packaging for fruit and vegetables. A carbon dioxide laser heats the outer layer of skin, causing pigment to evaporate and create a difference. The taste, smell or shelf life is not affected and you can just eat the branded piece of skin.


How can you best (start with) PMD divorce

    1. Check whether you can hand in plastic, PD or PMD from the municipality. The fastest way to find out is by googling or taking a look at the site of the municipality itself. While you’re at it, check out if they offer free bags or maybe a clicko, and if it’s picked up or where you can drop it off nearby.
    2. Think about where in the house you want to store PMD. In the kitchen is often the easiest / most convenient (least walking), only then of course you want it to look stylish. The BinBang is a good solution for this (and I say that as a customer of BinBang, with three bins in house). But with a crate or a large drawer you can also get very far!
    3. We sometimes get the question how to offer PMD. You can throw PMD loose in the container, so you can immediately tip your BinBang or other container into the container. If you prefer to offer it in a plastic bag, make sure that they are transparent waste bags! Waste processors must be able to check what is in a waste bag to prevent contaminated waste streams. If a bag is not transparent, it is often assumed that the bag contains residual waste and then it is incinerated with the rest of the residual waste, reports NOS. On the Plastic Hero page you can check whether (and where) your municipality provides free PMD bags.


5 tips to separate plastic, cans and beverage cartons super easy

    1. Make the plastic small! Packaging contains a lot of air, empty space that you put in your waste bin or bag so that it fills up faster and you have to walk to the container more often. Make the packaging as small as possible before you throw it away. But do not overdo this, because if you stuff a can with plastic, for example, then this is almost impossible for the waste processor to separate. They separate this (mechanically) and therefore it is good if it can still easily be separated from each other.
    2. Fold beverage cartons as small and flat as possible, so you don’t have to walk to the PMD container as often. Watch this 46-second video, do it once and you’ll never forget it.
    3. Competition can crushing It can be done with a hammer or in the garden or on the balcony with sturdy shoes. At festivals often usual fare, but at home it also saves a lot of space. A stylish, less intensive, solution is the Can Crusher.
    4. DO NOT clean your plastic! Or at least… not super clean. Scrape and shake clean. It is okay if there are food residues in the bags or cans, PMD waste is cleaned during the processing process. It takes unnecessary water, energy and time to do this yourself. However, if you don’t spend much time at home or don’t often take your PMD away, keep in mind that the more food scraps… the more odors this causes.
    5. Call in your municipality! Many municipalities would like you to separate plastic or PMD and therefore offer free transparent bags. On the Plastic Hero page you can check whether (and where) your municipality provides free PMD bags.


4 tips to prevent PMD waste

Separating plastic waste is important, but you can achieve the most environmental benefits by preventing waste. How can you make a big difference with small steps?

    1. “Bag with it? No thanks!”. It’s actually super simple, but it does take a bit of preparation. The easiest thing you can do is: turn off bags at the cash register. And bags at the greengrocer’s. What do you need for this? That you make preparations yourself. Just always take 1 or 2 bags with you in your bag. A foldable bag made of recycled plastic, for example, or a simple bag from Blokker.
    2. Buy local. Go to the market or pay attention to where you come from in the supermarket: vegetables from nearby do not have to be transported for as long, making them less vulnerable and need less packaging material!
    3. Challenge yourself, hold a challenge with your friends, family or roommates. Organize a packaging-free dinner or cook packaging-free for a week! Check if there is a packaging-free supermarket in your area, or go (again) to a local market.
    4. Preparation! For a step further PMD prevention, it is a matter of looking at your daily routine and seeing how much waste you make. Do you want to prevent more waste? Do not get meal salads, but make a salad at home. A great tip of course, but maybe you never buy meal salads… Therefore, look at your own routine and come up with packaging-free or low-packaging alternatives to what you buy. Some items that will help you get started:
      • a. Durable containers that last a long time (such as stainless steel or glass containers), so you don’t have to pack your bread or salads with plastic cling film.
      • b. Buy a Klean Kanteen or Dopper bottle so you don’t have to buy plastic water bottles when you’re on the go.
      • c. Fabric items to put vegetables, fruit, nuts in (such as those from Re-Sack or Bag-again)or beeswax cloths from Bee’s wrap to pack cheese or bread. The ultimate recycling option: make the beeswax cloths yourself! With this instruction from EcoMama.

Thanks to BinBang and Compostgilde

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