What do we see?
Since 2008, the amount of household waste in Flanders has been decreasing. By 2022, the total amount of household waste had decreased by 105 kg per inhabitant, or 525 kt, compared to 2013. This decrease can be attributed to various policy initiatives taken in recent years, such as the expansion of the PMD (plastic, metal, and drink cartons) bag, the further implementation of weight-based differentiated tariffs and measures to reduce the amount of bulky waste. The sharp decrease in the amount of waste in 2022 can possibly be attributed in part to high energy prices and inflation in 2022 or to the exceptionally dry summer that resulted in less green and VGF (vegetables, fruit and garden) waste.
According to the 2016-2022 Implementation Plan, the decoupling between Flemish household expenditures and the total amount of household waste should continue compared to 2012. For this purpose, waste generation is compared to the real expenditures of Flemish households. The figure below shows that the real expenditure of Flemish households decreased in 2016 compared to the reference year 2012. The household budget data from 2016 are not comparable with the data from previous years. Thus, the trend change between 2014 and 2016 should be interpreted with caution. Since 2016, Statbel has used a new extrapolation method.
In COVID year 2020, the proportions of spending categories changed considerably. For example, spending on food and beverages, furniture, household appliances and maintenance products, among others, increased. In addition, spending on restaurants and hospitality declined in 2020. As a result, the decoupling of household waste from total spending by Flemish households did not continue. According to Statbel, the proportions of spending items recovered to 2018 proportions in 2022. Total spending, adjusted by the consumer price index, did fall compared to 2016. However, the amount of household waste decreased more than real spending. Thus, a decoupling occurs.
What’s the aim?
In a circular economy, we aim to reduce the production of household waste. After all, this means that fewer materials are consumed, that materials remain in use longer, for example through reuse or recycling, and/or that fewer new raw materials are extracted. Ideally, we aim to avoid waste completely; however, there will always remain an amount of materials that we can no longer put to good use. We strive to get this quantity as small as possible. The Household Waste and Comparable Industrial Waste Implementation Plan 2016-2022 aims for a decoupling with household budgets, which was achieved. The Local Materials Plan 2023-2030 strives for absolute decoupling: the total amount of waste in 2030 must remain at least stable at 2 376 000 tonnes (excluding construction and demolition waste and green waste apart from the VGF fraction), but should preferably decrease.
What does this indicator measure?
This indicator measures household waste production in Flanders, including comparable industrial waste collected through the municipal circuit.
To compare the relationship between household waste production and economic reality, the real evolution of Flemish household expenditure was approximated by correcting the nominal expenditure of Flemish households (taken from Statbel’s household budget survey) by the consumer price index in Belgium.