Port Waste Catch

More innovative. Cleaner. More sustainable. Make it happen.

Port Authority sets to work on ‘plastic soup’**

More and more plastic waste is ending up in our oceans and seas. This is a major problem all over the world, including in our own port. The Port of Rotterdam Authority plans to invest in reducing this ‘plastic soup’. It has taken the initiative of asking the private sector to develop a system for removing plastic waste – particularly waste that is floating or suspended in water or airborne – from the port and port basins before it drifts out to sea. We will shortly be launching a pilot project in which we test a number of these systems at our port.

The Port Authority is also closely involved in the start-up accelerator Port XL. One of these start-ups has developed a dynamic collection system for plastic waste. We will also be testing this system.
The pilot project will run for approximately six months. It will give us a better idea of our options, after which we can decide on how we will be proceeding.

During the pilot project, we will also commission a study to determine where plastic ends up once it has entered the port area. Does it float further out to sea, does it accumulate in our port basins – or something in between?

‘Plastic soup’

Pollution of the oceans, animals that think plastic is food and the harmful effect on humans: floating plastic waste has long been the subject of discussion. The seas and oceans cover 72% of the earth’s surface and are our main source of oxygen. For more than half of the world’s population, the oceans are even the primary source of food. Yet more and more plastic waste is ending up in our seas and oceans: we cannot ignore the plastic soup.

Sustainable port

The Port Authority wants to earn the title of ‘most sustainable port’. Together with clients and stakeholders, it is trying to find ways of ensuring that our port becomes increasingly clean and sustainable. Because a clean and sustainable port improves the quality of life for users and local residents. As signatory to the Kunststof Ketenakkoord (Plastic Cycle Value Chain Agreement), the Port Authority is striving to visibly reduce plastic litter in the sea and inland waters and accommodate businesses in the plastics processing industry in Rotterdam by 2020.


Rotterdam is not only a sustainable port, but also an innovative one. For this reason, the Port Authority is taking the lead when it comes to removing this waste before it reaches the sea. The focus is on floating plastic waste, with other waste serving as ‘bycatch’. The aim of the Port Waste Catch is to trap the waste at places in the port where floating waste accumulates naturally. The Port Authority is therefore looking for a system that provides a solution for all stages in the waste processing chain. Not only the collection of waste, but also its removal, treatment and re-use.

Aims and conditions

The Port Waste Catch can be both static and mobile. It is important that the performance can be measured and the end result must be that there is no longer a visible build-up of ‘plastic soup’ in the port. The Port Authority is making resources available for the elaboration. The form and scale are dependent on the possibilities and the applicability of the systems. One example is the making available of a test site. The solutions will be further evaluated according to: CO2 performance, sustainability of energy sources and the whole chain of collection, removal and treatment. Naturally, the Port Waste Catch must also comply with a number of preconditions. We set the following requirements:

  • It may not cause any damage to flora, fauna or the (living) environment
  • Specific requirements are set on noise production
  • Safety of shipping and local residents may not be compromised
  • It may not cause any nuisance to shipping and the normal course of events in the port
  • The installations must fit into the surroundings as well as possible

More information

Like to know more? Send an e-mail to: Port Waste Catch

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