€30,000 fine for municipality of Voorschoten


The Dutch Data Protection Authority (DPA) has issued a fine of €30,000 to the municipality of Voorschoten because the municipality retained information on the waste generated by individual households for much longer than was necessary, and did not properly inform residents that it was doing so.

In 2018 and 2019 the municipality of Voorschoten replaced wheelie bins (for houses) and underground containers (for apartment buildings). The new wheelie bins and tokens for underground containers have a chip with a number, each of which is linked to a specific address. The aim is to collect more household rubbish separately, by limiting the amount of residual waste residents are permitted to deposit. 

‘Deposit data’ kept for too long

If a household tries to have their wheelie bin emptied more than once every two weeks,  the refuse truck will not accept it. Likewise, if apartment residents try to deposit more than 5 bags of residual waste on 1 day, the underground container will be blocked for the rest of the day. For these systems to work, the ‘deposit data’ of each household needs to be stored for a while. 

In principle, this is in keeping with the municipality’s public task. What went wrong in this case, however, was that the municipality stored the data for too long. Data on the wheelie bins was stored from the date the new system was introduced, and data on the tokens for 5 years. This is much longer than is needed to check whether a household has exceeded the permitted amounts. 

Residents not properly informed

Moreover, the municipality did not correctly inform the residents about its use of their data. The municipality did send letters about the new containers and tokens, but was not clear enough about the use of personal data in rubbish collection.

Infringements ended

Both infringements have now ended. The municipality has now reduced the period for which data is retained to 14 days. It has also sent residents a new letter, which it first checked with the DPA.

What happens next?

The municipality of Voorschoten can lodge an objection to the fine.