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Belgium is Streets Ahead When it Comes to Recycling

Belgium is Streets Ahead When it Comes to Recycling

Belgium Is Streets Ahead When It Comes to Recycling

According to recently released figures, Belgium is one of the most prolific recyclers in Europe. The EU average is around 65%, but Belgium is streets ahead at 81%. The Czech Republic was the second best recycler, followed by Germany. Greece, Hungary, Malta, and Croatia all failed to reach the EU target of 55% waste recycling.

Waste management in Belgium

So how does Belgium boast this impressive recycling rate? It’s all down to its stringent waste management regulations.

The management of household waste and recycling in Belgium is the responsibility of the three regions, Brussels Capital, Flanders, and Wallonia.

Sorting of household waste is compulsory, which obviously makes recycling easier.

Household waste

Non-recyclable household waste must be placed in white bags or the grey or black bins that are provided. The local authorities are always keen to remind people to reduce waste, and ask them to consider whether an item could be donated to charity or a second hand shop before it goes in the bin.


Plastic bottles, metal packaging and drinks cartons can be recycled together.

Glass can be recycled, and coloured glass has to be separated from clear glass in designated containers.

Some areas have collection services for textiles, however, there are also designated collection points.

Plastic bottles, metal packaging and drinks cartons

Dangerous or toxic waste

Medication has to be returned to a pharmacy

Batteries should be left in a collection box which can be found in most supermarkets and petrol stations

Chemical waste such as detergents, paint, varnish, oil, and cosmetics should be dropped at a collection point or a designated “green spot” (groene plekjes) in recycling container parks. In Brussels, a mobile Green Spot service is available at particular times in various locations.

Garden waste

People are encouraged to compost their garden waste, but it can also be left at a collection point in a green bag, usually from April to November.

Christmas trees can be put out on the pavement on garden waste collection day, or they can be taken to a recycling container park.

Disposing of large items

Bulky waste should be taken to a designated container park.

Electrical items, such as computers, washing machines, refrigerators and televisions should be taken to a container park, or be returned to the seller when you replace it with a new product. Shops like De Kringwinkel in Flanders, and Ressources in Wallonia and Brussels, specialise in recovered and recycled goods, and accept appliances if they still work.

DIY and construction waste is sorted into rubble and other construction waste, and it should be taken to a designated container park, though some areas do have a service where it can be collected from home.

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