The Brussels parliament this week voted in favour of allowing the region’s communes to order residents of certain streets or certain areas to use rigid plastic rubbish bins when putting household waste out for collection. The measure is intended to stop animals and birds from ripping open white and orange bags left outside overnight for the morning collection. Rats, cats, foxes and crow often raid the bags for food waste contained inside, so that when the collection is made, rubbish is strewn around in the street through no fault of the home-owner.
Some communes are then forced to send out teams of street cleaners specially to clean up after the rubbish trucks. According to Benoît Cerexhe, mayor of Woluwe-St-Lambert and one of the proponents of the new measure, his commune alone has to spend 158,000 euros a year on post-collection clean-up.
Some communes already offer a hard plastic bin to contain the orange food-waste bag to prevent it being ripped open when left outside. The bins are free, but are not compulsory. In fact many households do not recycle food waste at all, but it ends up in the white bag, and the animal problem remains the same.
Under the new order, communes will be free to designate certain areas or individual streets where residents will be obliged to use the new hard bins for food waste and for general waste. On the whole, the obligation would be restricted to houses with outside space for bins to be stored, or apartment buildings with a common rubbish collection. For other apartment dwellers, they could be made available by choice, as the food waste bins are at present.
The rubbish collection agency Bruxelles Propreté/Net Brussel will have the job of designing the new hard bins.
The four members of left-wing party PVDA voted against the proposal, and there were 12 abstentions. Voting in favour, N-VA and MR both expressed regret that the reform did not go further, with MR describing the current method of waste collection as “archaic and not innovative enough”. Johan Van den Driessche for N-VA said it was a pity a system was not introduced to make householders pay according to the amount of waste they create, as operates in some other parts of the country.