A rising number of residents from the Walloon and Flemish peripheries of Brussels are “importing” their trash into areas inside the city, a habit attributed to the fact that waste bags are often cheaper in Brussels than elsewhere.
Bruxelles-Propreté said that the rising number of “clandestine trash imports” signals to a potential trend, as more residents opt for taking out their trash well beyond their doorstep.
In 2017, the agency started 504 proceedings for “clandestine” trash-imports into the Brussels-Capital Region. As of June 2019, that number had already reached 247.
“The figures are therefore relatively stable,” Carl Dufour, spokesperson for Bruxelles-Propreté told French-speaking daily La Dernière Heure.
Brussels alderwoman for public cleanliness, Déborah Lorenzino, told the outlet that the difference in prices paid for waste bags between the regions could be one explanation for the problem.
“Waste bags are effectively less expensive in Brussels than in Flanders or Wallonia,” she said. “Hundreds of people take advantage of when they come visit friends or family in Brussels to drop off their waste in Schaerbeek,” she said, referring to one of the northernmost municipalities.
“This habit is a big problem (…) particularly in terms of waste management and sorting,” the spokesperson for Bruxelles-Proprete said.
“The waste bags are often dropped out of official waste collection hours, so they are clandestine,” he said, adding that often, the people behind them did not properly sort their trash.
While the fine for this type of infraction can vary from €75 to up to €65,000 depending on the situation and the contents of the waste bag in question, the spokesperson said that it was particularly difficult to track down those responsible.
“Fighting this is particularly complicated because the waste is coming from outside Brussels,” the spokesperson said, adding: “The authors of these deeds are aware that what they are doing is illegal.”
The Brussels Times