From next year, the Brussels-Captial Region is reforming its bin bag collection system to urge its residents to focus more on properly reducing, sorting and recycling their waste – an important step in achieving Brussels' climate objectives.
The Regional Government decided to make the orange waste bag obligatory for everyone last week, but Brussels Cleanliness Minister Alain Maron now published more detailed information about the reform.
"Our waste is a valuable resource. In a changing world, there is no more room for waste," Maron said. "The reform we are launching now is another step towards a cleaner and more sustainable city."
While it is currently still voluntary, the use of the orange bag (for organic waste) will become mandatory from 1 May 2023 across Brussels. As a result, the white bag (for residual waste) should fill up less quickly and will only be collected once a week instead of twice from the same date.
Food waste accounts for 40% of the weight of the white bags. These are currently still being incinerated, leading to considerable greenhouse gas emissions. The Brussels incinerator in Neder-Over-Heembeek emits 470,000 tonnes of CO2 – the equivalent of 145,000 diesel cars.
By making the orange bag mandatory, about half of the current contents of the white bag will no longer end up in that bag. This will lower emissions and allow more energy to be generated by biomethane. Consequently, fewer collection rounds will be needed for white bags and slightly more for the orange ones.
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The collection frequency will eventually be reduced in all 19 Brussels municipalities, but its introduction will be gradual. The first phase will start on 1 May in the municipalities of Auderghem, Berchem-Sainte-Agathe, the City of Brussels (but only on the territory of Haren and Neder-Over-Heembeek), Evere, Ganshoren, Jette, Uccle, Watermael-Boitsfort, Woluwe-Saint-Lambert and Woluwe-Saint-Pierre.
These municipalities were chosen because of their lower overall density and also because the sorting of waste is generally already well advanced there.
However, the reform does not apply to apartment buildings where containers are used, which is the case for 32% of the population of these ten municipalities. For them, the collection frequency does not change.
The Brussels government has also decided to develop new streams for mattresses, metal, wood, plastic film, rubble and textiles. Companies will have to reuse their waste in these new streams as of 2023 (2025 for textiles). More information about what changes can be found on this website.