Household waste recycling

This indicator shows the extent to which household waste in Flanders is recycled, composted or fermented.

65.6% effectively recycled

In Flanders, 65.6% of total household waste (incl. comparable industrial waste) is recycled or composted (incl. fermentation).

What do we see?

Of the total household waste collected in 2022, 68.0% went to a facility for recycling, composting or fermentation. Some of the selectively collected household waste also goes to a facility for incineration or landfill (e.g. hazardous wood waste and waste containing asbestos). Based on available data, we see that 65.6% of household waste will be effectively recycled in 2022. In recent years, this figure is several percent higher than in the period up to 2018. We see here the effect of the expanded PMD (plastic, metal and drink cartons) collection that was phased in from 2019 to 2021. Also at play are the introduction of weight-based differentiated tariffs for household waste and the start-up of GFT (vegetable, fruit and garden waste) collections in more and more municipalities.

Flanders tops the European league with a 60.8% recycling rate of municipal waste; the European calculation is done in a slightly different way.

What’s the aim? 

In the circular economy, we want materials to be used for as long as possible and as high quality as possible. Recycling is a strategy to bring materials back into circulation at the end of a use cycle. An increase in recycling rates means that fewer materials become irrevocably unusable. It is also important to aim for the highest-quality possible next uses for materials.

The revision of the European Waste Framework Directive in 2018 included new targets and a stricter calculation method. The new recycling targets stipulate that 55% of municipal waste should be recycled by 2025 , 60% by 2030 and 65% by 2035. Flanders has therefore already met the 2025 target.

What does this indicator measure? 

This indicator measures the share of household waste (incl. comparable industrial waste) that is effectively recycled or composted (incl. fermentation). Which type of waste is or is not selectively collected may vary between municipalities and intermunicipal authorities. OVAM will further refine this calculation in the coming years.

European member states report to Europe each year how much municipal waste was generated and how much of it was effectively recycled. For calculation purposes, until recently selectively collected waste that goes to a treatment facility for recycling was allowed to be considered recycled. From 2020, Member States will have to report data on the effective input into recycling treatment. The European definition of municipal waste (adopted in the Materials Decree) is roughly equal to the sum of household, similar and comparable industrial waste. Comparable industrial waste is the same waste as similar industrial waste, but it is generated by companies and organisations in larger quantities than what can be expected in a household.

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