Share article:
Share article:

Belgians improve recycling rate for fifth consecutive year

Garbage Glass Recycled Glass Recycling Bottles

The recycling of household packaging waste improved last year for the fifth year in a row, according to the annual report of Fost Plus, the organisation for the collection and recycling of household waste in Belgium.

Household packaging waste includes glass, PMD (which stands for plastic packaging, metal packaging and drink cartons), paper and cardboard.

“Belgium is the European leader in the recycling of household packaging,” said Patrick Laevers, managing director of Fost Plus.

764,122 tonnes of such materials were recycled in the country, equalling a recycling rate of 94.9%.

That’s an average of 64.9 kg of packaging waste per inhabitant of Belgium that was recycled in 2020.

It amounts to 32.2 kilograms of glass, 16.9 kilograms of packaging in paper or cardboard and 15.8 kilograms of PMD.

According to Fost Plus, the fact that the figures have increased again is mainly due to the new PMD bag that increased the types of items people are allowed to recycle (for example: butter dishes, yoghurt pots and plastic foils).

“Through the ‘New Blue Bag’, we collect 90,000 tonnes of extra packaging annually that, until recently, still ended up in the residual waste,” the annual report stated.

The new PMD bag was introduced in the first municipalities in Belgium in mid-2019. By the end of 2020, its use was extended to some 4.1 million inhabitants.

With the new bag, an average of 8 kilograms of additional PMD is collected per inhabitant, said Fost Plus. In the course of 2021, the “New Blue Bag” will be rolled out across the whole of Belgium.

While almost all of the packaging discarded in the categories of glass, paper and cardboard is recycled, only 51.1% of plastic packaging is recycled in Belgium.

But this is already better than the European target for 2025 (50%), said Fost Plus. Belgium wants to achieve 70 percent recycling of plastic packaging by 2030.

Waste is also increasingly recycled inside of Belgium itself.

According to the annual report, all recycling takes place within Europe: 79% of it in Belgium and the rest in France, the Netherlands, Germany and Spain.

“Thanks to uniform systems and a simple sorting message, nowhere else is more packaging waste collected than at our site,” said Laevers.

At present, Belgian recycling consists mainly of paper, cardboard, glass and metals.

“Plastic packaging is still mainly recycled in France, Germany, the Netherlands and a small percentage in Spain,” explained the report.

“Some 9% of plastic packaging is recycled domestically. That share will already rise to over 50% by 2023, with the opening of the announced recycling lines for PET bottles and PE films.”

The cost of selective collection, sorting and recycling of household packaging waste is about €15 per inhabitant, Fost Plus said.

The Brussels Times

Latest news

Brussels pharmacies report rush on rapid tests due to Covid Safe Ticket
Many pharmacists in Brussels have noticed a remarkable increase in the demand for Covid-19 tests this weekend, following the official expansion of ...
Students filmed naked on ULB campus given a warning
A group of students caught on camera mimicking sexual acts on the campus of the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) have been issued an official ...
EU Digital Covid Certificate becomes an international success story
The European Commission adopted on Monday a report on the EU Digital Covid Certificate and its implementation across the EU. According to the ...
Belgian chocolatier agrees to $15 million settlement over misled consumers allegations
Internationally recognised Belgian chocolate manufacturer Godiva has reached a $15 million (€12.9 million) settlement after US consumers said they ...
‘Buying second home does not mean you are rich’: government disagrees on tax break
The Francophone liberal MR party and the Flemish socialist Vooruit party strongly disagree on the current scheme for tax benefits on people's second ...
EMA starts evaluating Pfizer vaccine for children over 5 years old
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has started evaluating an application to extend the use of the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine to children ...
Energy prices: EU’s demand and supply dilemma in importing natural gas
The European Commission adopted last week a plan on how to tackle the rise in global energy prices in the short-term while relying on the transition ...
Tram line and cycle path to connect Brussels’ outskirts to airport
Works on a tram line connecting Brussels, the NATO headquarters and Brussels Airport in Zaventem, which could attract up to 10,000 passengers a day, ...
SKYFALL: European police complete counter-drone training in Antwerp
In a joint project between Belgium’s federal police and the Brussels Capital Ixelles Policing Area, 15 European police officers visited Antwerp to ...
Offshore wind farms could help reach climate neutrality by 2050
A study carried out by the Bureau fédérale du Plan (BFP) – an independent Belgian organisation that investigates questions of environmental and ...
Will Brussels bounce back?
The lockdowns have tested the city and forced it to confront key questions about its future. Derek Blyth looks back at an extraordinary moment in our ...
STIB launches free transport for Museum Night Fever this weekend
STIB buses will run between Brussels museums for free on Saturday night as part of the Museum Night Fever celebrations taking over the capital.  ...