19 July 2023

Dutch waste associations NVRD and DWMA want government support to combat laughing gas canisters

‘The safety of workers is compromised, the damage to plant runs into millions’

The Dutch Association for Refuse and Cleansing Management (NVRD) and the Dutch Waste Management Association (DWMA) demand an urgent meeting with ministers Yeşilgöz, Kuipers and Heijnen to discuss the littering of nitrous oxide canisters (NOS canisters) in public places and in the waste chain. Refuse collectors and workers at waste-to-energy plants are currently exposed to major safety risks from exploding NOS canisters. Tens of millions of euros worth of damage have already been reported this year and waste facilities often have to be shut down. The NVRD and DWMA urge the government to take action.

Nitrous oxide has been banned since 1 January. Since then refuse collection and treatment companies have had to deal with dozens of NOS canisters found in refuse vehicles and incinerators every week. Municipal authorities and public and private waste companies have suffered significant damage to vehicles and treatment plants caused by exploding NOS canisters. These vehicles and plants then have to be repaired.

Accidents waiting to happen

‘Of course we are most concerned about the major safety risks our people are exposed to on a daily basis,’ stresses Boris van der Ham, president of the DWMA. ‘Accidents are waiting to happen. This situation can no longer be tolerated. We want the government to take action.’

The NVRD and DWMA want to manage the collection and processing of discarded NOS canisters and have already made concrete proposals. For example, the sector wants to see official collection points for empty NOS canisters at municipal recycling centres or waste depots.

The NVRD and DWMA have asked the government ministers concerned for a personal meeting to discuss the problem.

Derek Middleton

Derek Middleton on LinkedIn