What do we see?
In the period between 2014 and 2018, the CMUR of Flanders increased considerably, evolving from 15.9% in 2014 to 19.0% in 2016 and 20.7% in 2018. This rise was mainly due to a substantial increase in the amount of waste recycled in domestic recovery plants. With its rate of 20.7% in 2018, Flanders came very close to France and Belgium, ranking in between Germany, Luxembourg and the EU27_2020 – which have a lower rate – and the Netherlands, which has a much higher rate. However, these different rates are strongly influenced by differences in domestic parameters such as domestic material consumption (DMC) and recovery capacities. The comparison of CMURs therefore only becomes meaningful when the economic structure is considered.
What’s the aim?
The CMUR measures whether an economy is moving in the right direction. The long-term goal is to evolve towards an economy that uses fewer materials. More specifically, the idea is to keep materials in the cycle as long as possible, making use of the ‘R strategies’ – reuse, repair and remanufacture – as much as possible. Recycling is a last resort and only at the very end of the cycle should processes such as backfilling, incineration and landfilling come into place.
What does this indicator measure?
The CMUR indicator is defined as the ratio of circular use of materials (U) to overall material use (M):
CMUR = U/M
The overall use of materials (M) is the sum of the domestic material consumption (DMC) and the circular use of materials (U):
M = DMC + U
The circular use of materials (U) is the amount of waste recycled in domestic recovery plants minus the waste that was imported for recycling, plus the exported waste destined for recovery abroad:
The circular use of materials (U)
= amount of waste recycled in domestic recovery plants
– import of waste for recovery/recycling
+ export of waste for recovery/recycling
This brings us to the complete formula:
CMUR = U/(DMC + U)
The result is the amount of recycling-processed materials. The CMUR is part of the (forthcoming) report on the economy-wide circular economy assessment by VITO, commissioned by the CE Center of Flanders. The data in this article was provided by VITO and was available for the years 2014, 2016 and 2018.