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From 4 to 10 March, it is the Week of Waste Heroes across the Netherlands. The week in which we put everyone in the spotlight who works in waste collection, green management, cleaning and processing. Because all the men and women who work hard every day to keep our beautiful region clean and safe are Heroes! In wind and rain, at night and on public holidays, in times of crisis: the work of our Waste Heroes always goes on. And we can be proud of that!

When do we actually call someone a hero? When we ask our Waste Heroes themselves we often hear: 'I'm just doing my job and don't consider myself a hero.'" But if they lay down their work, our beautiful region will become heavily polluted and unsafe in no time. We simply cannot do without them; they do work that matters.  As a token of appreciation, we therefore organise all kinds of activities for our employees during the Week of Waste Heroes and call on residents from the region to also join in to show their appreciation. 

Meet our Waste Heroes at Meet & Greets

At central locations in the municipalities, residents can meet our Waste Heroes on afternoons between 3pm and 4.30pm. The perfect time to  get behind the wheel of a real collection truck or take a ride on a sweeper! Children who hand in a nice drawing or handicraft will also have a chance of winning a great prize, which our Waste Heroes will personally present to the winner's school in front of the whole class.

Who is the Meet & Greet for?

  • For everyone who would like to salute our Waste Heroes
  • For anyone wanting to take a closer look at a Waardlanden truck
  • For anyone who wants to get behind the wheel of a collection truck for a while and ride along on a sweeper truck
  • For anyone who wants to drop off a nice drawing or craft (and have a chance to win a fun prize!)
  • For anyone wanting their photo taken with a Waardlanden truck or Waste Hero
  • For anyone wishing to leave a written message and express their appreciation for our Waste Heroes
  • For anyone with questions about waste prevention and separation
  • For anyone who enjoys just stopping by

The Waste Heroes from team Education will be at the Meet & Greet moments this week to answer questions about preventing residual waste and separating raw materials at home even better.

Where and when are the meet & greet moments?

Monday 4 March, 15:00 - 16:30

Leerdam - Europaplein, next to the entrance to the shopping centre

Tuesday 5 March, 15:00 - 16:30

Gorinchem - Stadhuisplein, in front of the town hall

Wednesday 6 March, 15:00 - 16:30

Hornaar - Dirk IV square, near the schools

Thursday 7 March, 3 pm - 4.30 pm

Hardinxveld - Giessendam - Plein Houweningenweer

During the Meet & Greets, we take photo and video footage. Were images taken of you, but would you like us to stop using them? Then send an e-mail to to withdraw your consent.

Competition for youngest fans. Win a fun prize!

Our Waste Heroes really like it when you wave at them or give them the thumbs up when they come to pick up your rubbish or sweep your street. Want to do more? Then enter our competition! Make a nice drawing or craft something fun for the Waste Heroes.

Drop this off during the Meet & Greet for a chance to win a fun prize!

Don't forget to put your name, age, address, hometown and phone number on it.

Some rules do apply. Discuss them with your parents or guardians before joining the action.

  • The campaign is aimed at all children from the municipalities of Gorinchem, Hardinxveld-Giessendam, Molenlanden and Vijfheerenlanden.
  • You choose what you make: a pretty drawing, a craft, a card, a photo, a written message, anything goes!
  • Drop off can be done from 4 to 7 March 2024 during one of the Meet & Greets
  • From all entries, our very own Waste Heroes will randomly draw 4 winners
  • The prize winners will be announced by us on this website and on our social media channels.
  • All prize winners will be notified personally
  • The Waste Heroes visit each prize winner at their school. There they will hand over the prize won in front of the whole class in a fun way
  • All submitted messages, drawings, photos and artworks may be published by us
  • Photos and recordings may be made of the prize winners for use on this website and social media channels. When participating in this promotion, you automatically agree to this.

Children who cannot be at the Meet & Greet due to circumstances can e-mail a photo of the drawing or craft to Always include name, age, address, place of residence and phone number.

Need inspiration?

Our Waste Heroes are happy with everything they get. Children who are not sure what they can make will find useful tools to put the Waste Heroes in the spotlight on the Waste Heroes Week website.

And there's more!

In addition to the 4 Meet & Greets, there is extra attention for all employees.

  • We appreciate by treating:
    • We kicked off the week with a delicious treat for all AfvalHelden on Monday morning 4 March, offered by the Waardlanden board.
    • On Tuesday 5 March, we will enjoy a delicious lunch together and all employees can pick up a nice gift
    • NVRD visits Ecopark's Waste Heroes on Wednesday 6 March with a treat
  • We highlight some Waste Heroes online.
  • We thank all litter pickers for their efforts with a nice postcard.
  • On Wednesday 6 March, Reinie Melissant, mayor of the municipality of Gorinchem, thanked the Waste Heroes for their efforts.
  • Board members take a half-day internship with the Waste Heroes and roll up their sleeves.

Meet our Heroes

During the Week of Waste Heroes, we would like to introduce some of our Waste Heroes to you: our Waardlanden colleagues. What does their day look like? What makes the work so much fun?

WasteHeld Herman Verhoef - All-round employee collection

Driver Herman has been working for our organisation for 30 years. He is responsible for the collection of different types of raw materials and waste, such as plastic packaging, metal packaging (cans) and drink cartons (pmd), vegetable, fruit, garden and food waste (VGF) and residual waste. "The best thing about my job is the contact with people and the freedom to do my job. The smiles of children when seeing the collection truck is the best appreciation for doing my job. But even a simple 'thank you' in appreciation makes my day. Every working day is different because I don't know what I will encounter during my routes. We work with time pressure every day. Each driver has his or her own route that has to be completed on time. Within our profession, you therefore have to be able to plan the work well and smartly, and if necessary you also have to be able to work together. If I, or one of my colleagues, cannot drive a route on time, we divide the work to ensure that all containers can still be emptied on time. Collegiality is therefore very important in our work." Herman and his colleagues face quite a few challenges every day that can cause delays. "It regularly happens that we cannot empty containers, or find it difficult to do so, because they are in places we cannot easily reach with the collection truck. Such as containers placed behind or between parked cars and lampposts stand. Also, driving through narrow streets and passages can sometimes be quite a challenge." As a driver, you have to be able to perform several tasks simultaneously. "We operate several buttons to pick up, empty and press waste containers. During these operations, we look carefully in our cameras and mirrors so that no unsafe traffic situations arise."


Waste Hero Frans Versteeg - Public Space Management employee

As a Public Space Management employee, Frans has been working in green spaces for five years and can be found daily on the sweeper in Gorinchem. "My main task is to remove dirt, litter and leaves lying on the street. In places where there are many trees, we have the most work. When leaf season arrives, we work closely with the municipality of Gorinchem. Together, we ensure a clean and healthy living environment for residents and visitors to our beautiful region. We also do everything we can before and after events to clean up the environment. Think about the Summer Festivities, the arrival of St Nicholas, Carnival, the fair and the weekly market in the centre of Gorinchem. Doing this work requires patience. While cleaning the streets, you cannot drive too fast or too fast, because otherwise leaves and other debris will not pass through the squeegee  are sucked up and waste is left on the streets.

In our work, sweeping around obstacles is a challenge. This must be done precisely, otherwise there is a greater risk of damage. Our sweeping trucks operate in the municipalities of Gorinchem, Molenlanden and Vijfheerenlanden. We all drive our own route within a municipality, but help each other complete the work on time if necessary. I value that collegiality enormously."


Waste Hero Boaz - Truck mechanic

Boaz has been with our organisation for 10 years. As a truck mechanic, he makes sure all the equipment is in working order. "My daily work mainly revolves around maintaining and repairing our trucks, performing Apk inspections and fixing any breakdowns on trucks in the district. The most common problem is brake pad wear. And sometimes the sensors that enable picking up and emptying containers do break down."

Proper and timely maintenance of collection trucks prevents breakdowns and unnecessary idling of trucks. If there is a breakdown of a trolley, it is important to act safely, smartly and quickly. Boaz then has to make the right decision: can he repair safely and responsibly on site? Should he drive the vehicle back to the workshop with an emergency programme? Or should he send a replacement vehicle? "It's all about switching quickly and still making the safest and smartest choice. That's what I like most about my job. Every day is different.One day I solve a breakdown and the next day I'm mainly in the workshop getting the cars back into top condition."


AfvalHeld Joop Koppenaal - Manager of environmental street Gorinchem

Joop is manager at the waste disposal site in Gorinchem and has been with Waardlanden for 40 years. As manager, he ensures that residents can separate and safely dispose of raw materials and bulky waste at the waste disposal site in Gorinchem. Together with his colleague Dirk-Jan, Joop does everything he can to keep the waste disposal site neat and tidy as well. "Our work is very diverse. At the waste disposal site, we receive residents and advise them on the best route along the bins across our grounds. We check returned raw materials and containers, take in small chemical waste (KCA) and make sure full containers are changed on time.

The best part of this work is the direct contact and interaction with residents. Every resident who visits the waste disposal site has his or her own story. So you really have to be able to empathise with their situation. If there are questions about the separate collection of waste and raw materials, we are happy to explain and give appropriate advice." Over the years, many  waste streams  added. At the environmental street, residents can currently offer 24 types of raw materials for reuse and recycling. "It is important that all items go into the right container to avoid rejection.Among bulky waste, there are often still valuable raw materials.

If we separate raw materials and bulky waste properly, we will keep more raw materials and have less bulky waste to burn at high cost. Working with hazardous waste is a challenge in our work. Kca contains substances that are hazardous to health and the environment. When we take it in, we don't always know what substances it contains. It is therefore important to separate these substances in the correct and safest way possible as well.


Waste Hero Anna Vermaning - Customer contact centre employee

Anna works 4 year with our organisation. As a Customer Contact Centre employee, she helps residents with a variety of questions about the new policy and waste collection. "I share information, solve problems and answer questions by phone and email. I also keep track of customer interactions and welcome residents and colleagues at reception. Our team consists of six colleagues and together we strive to provide customer-friendliness and assistance to residents of our catchment area. The best thing about my job is the variety. No day is the same, so my working day is never boring. If, at the end of a busy day, my colleagues and I have been able to help residents to our satisfaction and our efforts are appreciated, then my working day is a success. The biggest challenge of our job is that we always have to take into account different living situations to give each resident the right information. Indeed, to a resident who lives in the outlying area, we give different information than to a resident in the built-up area. That makes our work intensive." The Customer Contact Centre works closely with the Planning Department to answer resident questions even faster. "If a resident calls to ask whether their container is still being emptied, we quickly link up with our colleagues in planning. They see whether our driver is still on the way or has already been. This allows us to answer residents' questions properly.

I am proud that more and more women are choosing to work in the waste industry. Whether this is on the collection truck, the environmental street or in the office. A great development that shows there are equal opportunities for all.


Waste and grit hero Saïd el Moubarik

Saïd is already meer than 20 years working within the waste industry. During the day, he works as a driver of Commercial Waste, but when  temperatures are around freezing and it is slippery outside, Saïd stands ready to grit.In the municipality of Gorinchem, Waardlanden is responsible for gritting the main roads in case of frost. While most residents are still lying sleeping or enjoying the weekend, Saïd gets into his gritter to ensure that residents of the municipality of Gorinchem can walk the streets safely.Our Waste Heroes not only clean the environment, but also ensure the safety of our residents!




Help out as a litter picker!

In our region, many residents voluntarily pick up litter lying around. Our Waste Heroes are very grateful to these residents for this. By picking up just one piece of litter a day, you not only help the Waste Heroes, but also the world. Even better: if 1 in 4 people in our country picked up a piece of litter every day, after just three days(!) we would not have enough litter to pick up together. Want to get involved in this during Waste Heroes Week? Take a rubbish bag(s) with you on a walk. With a pair of gloves and tongs (or a real prod or grabber), your hands won't get dirty. Make it a fun outing and go out with family, friends or local residents and share a photo of the rubbish you picked up with  #garbageheroes.

Show your appreciation

You too can express your appreciation. This can be done very simply in your neighbourhood or, for instance, at the waste disposal site: give our people the thumbs up, wait patiently in a side street so the collection truck can pass, or give a compliment. These small gestures make our AfvalHelden feel good, make residents more aware and thus bring a circular society another step closer.

We do it together

Everyone working towards a clean, beautiful and safe living environment naturally deserves a thumbs-up. Waardlanden thanks the many waste volunteers in our area. Whether you help collect waste paper for your association, regularly pick up litter or make a different kind of effort: you too are Waste Heroes. We also thank our planners, mechanics, customer service staff and all those people behind the scenes who make this wonderful and important work possible! We are proud of each other! 

Become a Waste Hero too?

Would you like to contribute to a beautiful, clean living environment in our region together with enthusiastic colleagues? Then consider a job at Waardlanden. We regularly have great vacancies. Keep an eye on the Working at Waardlanden in the eye. Who knows, you might soon be working as a Waste Hero too.