SynchUp! is initiated by REWIN

Waste separation technology for PET packaging and cans

Challenge closes in:

2021-05-21 17:00


Efteling is looking for a waste separation technology to collect PET packaging and cans for recycling.

Efteling’s ambition is to be a climate-neutral company by 2030. However, waste is currently a major contributing factor to the park’s carbon footprint. 

In this challenge, we are working with Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP), the European production arm of The Coca-Cola Company, which has the ambition to be climate neutral by 2040. Efteling and Coca-Cola are jointly pursuing circular packaging, for example by making it lighter and by updating designs. 

It is also of great importance to collect 100% of all used packaging, so that they can be recycled and reused as a raw material. Using 100% recycled plastic in CCEP bottles would make a major contribution, which is why it is our goal is to cleanly collect 100% of plastic bottles and cans for recycling at Efteling.

Other European parks have taught us that amusement park visitors are less inclined to actively return their bottles to get their deposit back, and because our park is particularly large, centralised waste collection is rather complicated. Therefore, Efteling is working on various ways to cleanly collect as many returnable items of packaging as possible for recycling, such as installing a return vending machine to return deposits, and donation bins. 

Another new initiative is the integration of a waste separator at the rear of Big Mouth Holle Bolle Gijs, Efteling’s famous paper gobbler. Holle Bolle Gijs very effective waste system encourages visitors to actively collect waste to this day. De Efteling wants to continue to sustainably amaze its guests by making waste separation part of Holle Bolle Gijs.

What are we looking for?

De Efteling is looking for a waste separation technology to integrate into the existing Holle Bolle Gijs units. As a minimum, this post-separation technology must be able to cleanly separate PET bottles and cans from other waste, with returnable packaging currently being prioritised because PET bottles are easily recyclable. On top of that, the introduction of a mandatory deposit on PET bottles as of 1 July 2021 will ensure a good supply chain for recycling. Deposits on cans will follow at the end of 2022. Much other waste, such as French fry trays, is too contaminated to be recycled to a high standard. Approximately 15% of all visitor waste is made up by PET bottles, with cans accounting for 5%. Collecting these streams separately has major benefits for the environment. 

Avenues to possible solutions include image analysis and “near Infra-Red,” or a combination of both, while scanning QR codes or bar codes is also potentially interesting.


  • Post-separation technology.
  • Preserve current appearance of Big Mouth Holle Bolle Gijs.
  • Returnable PET bottles and cans must each be separated from all other waste in separate streams.
  • The waste stream of collected returnable packaging must be 99.9% clean (minimum other waste).
  • Bottles and cans must not be damaged by the separation technique.
  • The intake of waste must remain uninterrupted, which means that visitors must still be able to use the paper gobbler Holle Bolle Gijs even if the separator breaks down. 
  • Automatic empty bin alert.
  • The principles outlined in Efteling’s Design Specification Document (DSD) must be met. See: Design Specifications Document.pdf for more information. 
  • In principle, the application should fit into the available space without making any modifications to the current system. See the diagram Construction Geeuwende Gijs.pdf for more information. 
  • A so-called Factory Acceptance Test before we test the system at the park. 
  • Optional service and maintenance after installation.


Nice to haves:

  • The ability to separate other waste, such as PMD (plastic packaging, metal packaging and drinking containers), organic waste, non-contaminated cardboard, etc.
  • Within the PET bottle category, dairy and juices are excluded from deposit recycling, so these must be excluded from the PET waste stream.
  • Generating a sense of sustainable wonder through Big Mouth Holle Bolle Gijs of a subtly sustainable nature (e.g. various thank-you messages, depending on the type of waste discarded).


What aren’t we looking for?

We are not looking for pre-separation solutions (waste separation by visitors), because experience shows that pre-separation involves too much contamination by other waste for high-quality recycling (into new bottles). 

Nor are we looking for a return vending machine, as these machines are not capable of processing residual waste. This does not mean, however, that the technology used in return vending machines cannot be repurposed for Holle Bolle Gijs.

Large traditional ‘in flight IR’ (infrared) systems used to separate waste are unsuitable due to their size, but the technology may still be interesting.

Big Mouth Holle Bolle Gijs does not have to be able to pay out a deposit (through a receipt) to visitors. Efteling will donate the collected money to charity and will communicate this to visitors.


What’s in it for you?

To help you apply this technology, we will share one of our renowned Holle Bolle Gijs units for a pilot, as well as giving you a pilot budget. If the pilot proves successful, it can be rolled out to multiple Gijs units. We will be the end users and ‘launching customers’ of your technology.


How can BioVoice benefit you?

  • An innovation contract with a launching customer/partner!
  • Funding (€10,000 vouchers, to be spent in the regional ecosystem for e.g. testing, lab and demo facilities, IP consulting, etc.)
  • Coaching and counselling
  • A stage and free publicity
  • Knowledge and contact with experts
  • Access to a network of potential partners & customers, resources and research facilities


The BioVoice programme

BioVoice is an initiative of REWIN West-Brabant, Green Chemistry Campus, the joint Rabobanks of Southwest Netherlands and the province of North Brabant. Dockwize, Impuls Zeeland, Centre of Expertise Biobased Economy and Midpoint Brabant have also joined as implementation partners. Together, we want to give innovative entrepreneurs and up-and-coming biobased/circular talents the space and opportunities to develop and market their idea/product, so as to achieve our common goal: accelerating the transition to a sustainable economy. BioVoice is made possible by financial contributions from the Regional Deal for Central and Western Brabant, the Province of North Brabant, the Province of Zeeland and Rabobank.  


Conditions of participation

We are looking for a supplier that can offer a working solution in line with Efteling’s design specifications. The supplier must be able to deploy the technology in the sacred “Efteling shell” without affecting the object’s enchanting appearance. After deploying the technology, the contractor will remain involved in fault handling and periodic maintenance. The contractor should be familiar with production and services.

The contractor must comply with the design specifications as described in the Design Specification Document (DSD) Design Specification Document Efteling.pdf.


Your pitch (max 6 pages / 18 slides)

  • Concept description: Describe your concept in as much detail as possible.
  • Pilot description: Please provide a brief description of what it will take to prototype and/or pilot and what you will need from us to do so.
  • Team description: Provide a brief description of the company and team that plans to work on the pilot.


There are no formal requirements for the pitch (presentations, slide decks & letters are all allowed), apart from the fact that it must be uploaded as a PDF file (A4, landscape or portrait) with a max. size of 30MB. Videos, example websites and so on can be included as links.  



  • 29 March ’21: Challenge launch – open for applications
  • 21 May ’21 – 5:00 pm: Challenge deadline – sign up no later than 5 pm
  • 4 June ’21: Longlist announced – A longlist of start-ups/scale-ups that are invited to meet the challengers is announced
  • 14-25 June ’21: Digital introduction meetings with challengers & participants + information session about confidentiality and IP
  • 2 July ’21: Shortlist announced based on interviews – A shortlist of start-ups/scale-ups that will be given the opportunity to work on an innovation contract is announced
  • 5-11 July ’21: Make schedule & working agreements + coordinate NDA if necessary
  • 12 July through 6 October ’21: Challenge weeks – sessions with challengers, participants & coaches to arrive at an innovation contract
  • 29 September ’21: Apply for vouchers – submit draft innovation contract + apply for vouchers
  • 6 October ’21: Vouchers awarded – submit final innovation contract + vouchers are awarded
  • 14 October ’21: Match event – celebrating the innovation contracts and partnerships + presentation of vouchers
  • 15 October ’21: Start of development & collaboration (pilot)



If you have any questions about this challenge, please head to the contact options below. For more information about the challenge program, click here.  


Background information

Efteling Theme Park Resort
Since the opening of the Fairytale Forest in 1952 in Holland, Efteling has grown to become one of the largest theme parks in Europe, with more than 5 million visits per year. , Efteling Theme Park Resort features the Efteling Hotel (1992), the Efteling Theatre (2002), Holiday Village Efteling Bosrijk (2009) and Holiday Village Efteling Loonsche Land (2017).

Holle Bolle Gijs
To combat littering, one of our founders, Anton Pieck, came up with Holle Bolle Gijs in 1959. Inventing an innovative, unique waste system for Efteling. Big Mouth has turned out to be wonderfully effective and continues to encourage our visitors to actively collect waste to this day. 

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