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You are here: Home / The European environment – state and outlook 2010 / Country assessments / Belgium / Waste - National Responses (Belgium)

Waste - National Responses (Belgium)

Policy to turn Flanders into a strong cycle economy with an as low as possible use of raw materials and materials.
Waste Waste
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Last updated
22 Dec 2010
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Published: 05 Nov 2010 Modified: 13 Apr 2011 Feed synced: 22 Dec 2010 original
Key message

Efficient waste treatment, focus on innovation and cradle-to-cradle.

In the recent past, Flanders has booked some nice results in the field of selective collection and recycling. In the coming years the OVAM wants to consolidate these results but also to come up with new projects. The goal is to turn Flanders into a strong cycle economy with an as low as possible use of raw materials and materials, since they are sparse.

By closing cycles – or by producing cradle-to-cradle – one can offer solutions for waste and avoid the use of new and valuable materials. Beside the environment also the economy goes well with this new approach. Investments in ecological innovation, eco-efficiency, eco-design can give the economy new impulses and turn Flanders into a leader in this new market.

The strategic plan

The strategic plan is a mix of new challenges and old recipes for success. It focuses on innovation and cradle-to-cradle but also on efficient waste treatment. The most important goals concerning waste are summarised below.

  • Close material cycles

The efficient closing and thorough changing of material cycles are the fundamentals of sustainable materials management. More than nowadays, waste products have to be kept in the economic cycle.

  • Produce eco-efficiently

By focusing on eco-efficiency and eco-design, the OVAM helps companies to lower their costs and to decrease their ecological impact. At the same time the OVAM wants to persuade the managers and designers that ecologically responsible products and process designs are profitable.

  • Innovate

The OVAM goes for innovation. It stimulates system innovation by the Transition Network Sustainable Materials Management. By chain management projects the OVAM supports innovative companies and takes initiative in a few priority sectors and joins initiatives of others.

  • Focus on waste of companies

The OVAM ensures that the waste production of companies decreases and that the degree of recycling increases. Furthermore it plans to create a legal framework that promotes the use of waste as a base material. The OVAM will continue the policy in the field of waste from households.

  • Environmentally responsible consumption

By going along with the offer of environmentally responsible products, emphasising the environmental advantages and setting a good example, the OVAM wants to steer the consumer in the direction of a more environmentally responsible consumption.


Key message

Guidelines for preventive actions for household waste are provided. A new tax system will promote the prevention and recovery of waste in the Walloon Region.

 Here is a list of the major responses undertaken and planned by the Walloon Region in the field of household and industrial waste:

  • The main guidelines for the prevention of household and household-like waste in the Walloon Region (approved by the Walloon Government on 3 April 2009). These guidelines provide a dynamic and structuring frame for preventive actions for greater efficiency (whoever the stakeholders). Only actions within this framework will now be financially supported by the Region. Six priority waste streams have been identified because of their impact on the environment (organic waste, paper and paperboard, packaging and disposable items, bulky waste, special household waste).

  • The ’tax‘ decree of 22 March 2007 promoting prevention and recovery of waste in the Walloon Region. This decree establishes a new tax system in order to better take into account the priority that should be given to reducing waste generation while improving the responsibilities of the various operators in the selection of waste treatment operations.

  • The AGW of 18 March 2004 which gradually bans the landfilling of certain types of waste.

  • The AGW of 25 April 2002 related to take-back obligations of certain types of waste.

  • The decree of 5 December 2008 related to the management of contaminated soils is applied since 18 May 2009.

In line with the Regional Policy Statement 2009-2014, a new Walloon Waste Plan 2020 is in preparation. This plan will participate in reducing emissions of greenhouse gas emissions and contribute actively to the reduction of environmental impact of waste generation. In this context, the Government will first conduct a study to assess the potential cost-benefit of the re-use, recycling and other forms of recovery including energy, economical, social and environmental impacts, and paying particular attention to flows whose management remains unknown (waste from SME and services for example).

Key message

The principal goals of the plan are reinforcement of waste reduction at its source, increase of re-use, modernization of waste management tools and maintenance of a strong public authority in the field of waste collection and management.

The fourth Regional Waste Prevention and Management Plan was recently approved and reinforces the idea of dematerialisation initiated in the third one. In general, Brussels sticks to the European waste hierarchy and lays its focus of waste management activities on waste prevention followed by re-use and recycling. Waste that still has to be disposed of should preferably be incinerated. Only if no other possibility remains may waste be landfilled.

The fourth Plan aims at strategic objectives and is based on general principles of urban governance: waste management through public policies, awareness and information of citizens and enterprises and accountability of waste producers.

The principal goals of the plan are reinforcement of waste reduction at its source, increase of re-use, modernisation of waste management tools and  maintenance of a strong public authority in the field of waste collection and management. 


Prior axes can be resumed as follow :

  • development of a sustainable consumption and a struggle about waste : one must pass from waste sorting to purchase sorting;

  • development of preventive actions targets for households and enterprises

  • new proximity services creation: repairing, re-use

  • a service of waste advisers available for enterprises

  • sorting obligation for all the actors

  • the progressive extension of the polluter pays principle through a tax on incineration and the application of the extended responsibility producer principle to hazardous waste producers.

Geographic coverage


The country assessments are the sole responsibility of the EEA member and cooperating countries supported by the EEA through guidance, translation and editing.


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