65 million euro damage caused by exploding nitrous oxide bottles, government considering compensation

Exploding nitrous oxide bottles this year caused more than €65 million in damage to waste processing companies. This has been reported by the Waste Companies Association. According to the professional association, it is a miracle that no one has been injured so far.

Nitrous oxide bottles become residual waste and can then explode in garbage trucks and incinerators. Thousands of cylinders exploded in waste processing furnaces this year.

No more deposits

Nitrous oxide has been on the Opium Act’s list of prohibited substances since the beginning of this year. Before the ban, refillable cylinders were more widely used and users could return them to the retailer after use. At that time this happened on a very large scale, because the deposit they took for this was usually around 30 euros per cylinder.

However, following the ban, deposits from illegal traders were stopped. According to Ralph Peters from the Royal Netherlands Association for Waste and Cleaning Services (NVRD), nitrous oxide bottles are now ending up on the streets and in residual waste.

“The incentive to return bottles properly is no longer valid. Instead of refillable bottles, single-use bottles are now used,” says Peters. Although these are not legal in the Netherlands, they can be easily ordered online; They are like that in other countries too.

too much cost

In some municipalities, nitrous oxide users can deliver their nitrous oxide bottles to a recycling center. “Sorting these cylinders costs around 17 million euros a year,” says Peters. But not everyone can take advantage of this option, so it costs a lot of money to remove bottles from the bin before they go into the incinerator. About 40 million euros a year, according to Peters.

And due to the large number of nitrous oxide bottles that end up as waste every week, a complete classification is not possible. If such a nitrous oxide bottle explodes, serious damage can occur and the machine may often need to be shut down for extended periods of time. This caused damage of 65 million last year.


According to Peters, it is important that municipalities are compensated for the costs associated with sorting. According to him, this is a national problem and the fairest way is for the state to compensate for it. “Otherwise, the waste tax may need to be increased.”

In response to the extensive damage, the government said in its response this morning that it wanted to find a solution urgently. In a joint statement made by the Ministries of Justice and Security, Infrastructure and Water Management and Health, Welfare and Sports (VWS), it was stated that, among other things, financial compensation to waste companies was being considered to finance preventive measures.

But they claim there is no causal link between the nitrous oxide ban and the disposal of the bottles.

Source: NOS