What is a citizens' meeting?

Zoetermeer's citizen council consists of 150 residents with different backgrounds, from different neighborhoods and with different living situations. They will advise the municipality on the waste policy of our city. This includes how often waste is collected, the costs and ways of separating waste. This advice is a weighty opinion. This means that the city council takes the advice seriously. Are the opinions in order according to the law? And does the city council see no other major problems? Then the city council adopts the advice.

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Why a citizen consultation on waste policy?

The municipality believes it is important that the voice of Zoetermeerders is reflected in the plans we make. For example, on a topic such as waste policy where it is sometimes difficult to make a joint choice. This is why we want to hear the opinions and ideas of different Zoetermeerders .

Everyone has waste and thus has experience in this area. Everyone also has an opinion on how waste is collected. In 2022, a referendum was held in Zoetermeer on the Waste Policy Plan. The result of the referendum indicated that there was no majority for this plan. Now we ask the citizens' council to indicate which conditions the waste policy should meet. These conditions include: ease of collection for both citizens and the collection service, hygiene, costs, quality and method of waste separation, amount of residual waste collected per inhabitant and legislation and regulations.

Who are on the citizens' council?

17,000 residents of Zoetermeer will receive a personal letter in mid-February asking if they would like to participate in the citizens' council. From all the applications, 170 participants will be drawn by lot. We expect that a small group will not participate due to illness, for example, and that the citizens' council will consist of 150 residents.

It is important that the citizens' council include about as many men as women and that residents from all neighborhoods participate, from both high-rise and low-rise homes and from diverse backgrounds.

How does it proceed?

A total of 5 meetings will be held between early April and the end of June. The citizens' council chooses which experts to invite and then, divided into smaller groups, devises the terms of new waste policy. During the final meeting, the citizens' council votes on all recommendations. This eventually leads to a jointly supported, weighty advice, which is submitted to the college and the city council. They are expected to discuss the advice in the fall of 2024.

Citizens' Council members receive compensation for their participation. Childcare is provided where needed and consideration is given to, for example, non-native speakers, those with low literacy skills, or participants with disabilities.

Planning

Citizens' Consultation will take place from the beginning of April to the end of June 2024. During this period we will hold 5 meetings.

Contact

Do you have a question and your question is not among the frequently asked questions below? If so, please email infoburgerberaad@zoetermeer.nl.

Recycle icon with text: Citizen's Council on Waste Policy: Don't put your opinions in the garbage!

Frequently Asked Questions

View a list of answers to the most frequently asked questions here.

What is a citizens' meeting?

A citizens' council is a group of elected Zoetermeer residents who together give advice to the city council. In 5 meetings, these residents work together to help the municipality make decisions on complex issues. They base their advice on information and discussions with each other. The outcome of the citizen council is a joint proposal or a number of recommendations that the city council uses to make decisions.

How were the participants drawn?

The municipality invited random Zoetermeerders aged 18 and older. This way we reach residents of different ages and from different neighborhoods. 17,000 residents will receive a personal invitation letter. They can use a personal code to register for the citizens' meeting. Among the applications, 170 people will be drawn by lot to participate in the citizens' council. We expect that a small portion will drop out due to illness, for example, and that 150 residents will participate.

We had a referendum on waste in 2021. So why have a citizens' council now?

The 2022 referendum involved a yes/no question on certain elements of waste policy. The question to this citizens' council is much broader. The question now is: What conditions should the waste policy meet? With this, we ask the citizens' council to consider: Convenience of collection; for both citizen and collection service, hygiene, costs, quality and method of waste separation, amount of residual waste collected per inhabitant and laws and regulations.

Can I come to the meetings?

Citizens' Council meetings are not open to the public because the Citizens' Council needs all the space it needs to talk to each other about what advice it wants to give to the municipality.

Can I register myself as a participant in the citizens' meeting?

Participants in the citizens' meeting will be determined by drawing lots. It is possible to sign up for the reserve list. This means that we will contact you if a participant drops out. You can sign up by sending an e-mail to : infoburgerberaad@zoetermeer.nl until March 11 at the latest. After March 11 it is no longer possible to sign up.

Who organizes the citizens' meeting?

The Zoetermeer municipality hired the agency EMMA/Moventem to organize the meetings. The municipality is responsible for the citizens' meeting itself. The municipality takes care of the invitations and communication to residents.

Do participants have to be at all meetings?

Yes, it is expected. A citizens' meeting produces the best results when the same participants come together all the time. It takes time to understand the topic, get to know each other, and make opinions together. In case of unforeseen circumstances, it is possible to miss 1 of the 5 meetings.

Are the meetings accessible to people with disabilities?

Yes, the meetings are accessible to residents who are hard of hearing, visually impaired or require a wheelchair, for example.

How much time does it take to participate in civic council?

Between April and June 2024, we will organize 5 meetings at an accessible location. These are 3 Saturdays from 9:30 am to 3:00 pm and 2 evenings from 5:45 pm to 9:30 pm. In the meantime, participants may be asked to prepare for the next meeting. These preparations do not take much time.

Do participants need to know anything about the topic of waste to participate?

This is not necessary. Participants do not need to know anything about the topic beforehand to join the Citizens' Consultation. In fact, we are looking for residents' experiences and opinions.

Will there be 170 or 150 participants in the citizens' meeting?

We are drawing lots for 170 residents, but since a small portion always drop out, we expect 150 residents to actually participate in the citizens' council.

Do council members, aldermen, officials and the mayor participate in civic deliberations?

Aldermen, council members, officials and the mayor do not participate in civic deliberations.

I have benefits. Will I be in trouble because of the allowance?

Participation in the Citizens' Consultation does not cause any problems for the benefit.

What will be done with the advice of the citizens' council?

The outcome of the Citizens' Consultation is an opinion used by the City Council to make decisions. The City Council has indicated that they are going to take the advice very seriously.

Where can I go if I have questions?

You can send an e-mail to infoburgerberaad@zoetermeer.nl We will be happy to assist you.

How were the 17,000 residents drawn who received a personal invitation letter?

The 17,000 residents were randomly selected from the municipality's records. The citizens' council should be as good a reflection of Zoetermeer as possible. Both in terms of age, gender, neighborhood and level of education.

Where can I see the opinions of the citizens' council?

After the final meeting, the opinion will be posted on this website.

The schedule

MonthWhat takes place
February17,000 residents receive invitation
MarchA draw will determine the 170 participants; we expect a small portion to drop out and a total of 150 residents to participate
April-June5 civic council meetings
Late JuneCitizens' council hands the opinions to the College of Mayor and Aldermen
Date to be determinedDiscussion of opinion by city council

Citizen's council on waste policy in the media