We collect litter!

This is Zwerf van Zooy tot Zuyveringh (‘The Litter Picker’), the mascot and the trophy of the Litter Collection Challenge at Kiwa in the Netherlands. You have seen him or you can find him at one of our locations. Why? Here is the story!

Employees of Kiwa throughout the Netherlands, including at our locations in Apeldoorn, Nieuwegein, Rijswijk and Zaltbommel, have been voluntarily collecting litter since March 2022. Armed with a grabber and bin liner, we collect cans, plastic bottles, cigarette butts and all kinds of other litter from nature, the street and the verge. Around our offices and laboratories, but also in our own hometowns. In this way, we all contribute to the fight against litter - and by taking a nice walk, we also work on our own health.

During collection, we use a special app to register each piece of waste (with a photo and one or more tags). This information is used, among other things, to map out where there is a lot of (recurring) litter and what types of litter are common.

And so something can really change! Take the deposit on small plastic bottles: this has come about partly thanks to all the litter collectors in the Netherlands. Campaigns to reduce the amount of cigarette butts on the streets use information from litter reports. And several manufacturers have adapted their packaging so that it causes less damage if it ends up in nature.

Back to our litter collection challenge. We also use the data from the app to gauge the number of pieces of litter collected per Kiwa location at the beginning of each quarter. The fact that Zwerf is where it is now means that the colleagues at this location have collected the most pieces of waste in the last three months.

So: should you come across Zwerf again, you know what it stands for. And that Kiwa colleagues have done their very best to get their hands on this trophy.