Production of secondary raw materials

Secondary raw materials are originally by-products or materials that have reached the end of the waste phase and can be reused as raw materials under certain conditions.

25.8 million tonnes

In 2020, 25,783 kt of secondary raw materials were produced, compared to 10,855 kt in 2004.

What do we see?

As the graph below illustrates, the production of secondary raw materials has continued to rise since 2009, with the exception of a decline in corona year 2020. This is partly explained by the fact that, from 2012 onwards, streams are reported as raw materials that before the new raw materials regime in VLAREMA were reported neither as waste nor as secondary raw materials: the scope has thus widened compared to the period before.

What’s the aim?

In a circular economy, materials are kept in use for as long and of as high quality as possible. When that is no longer possible, raw materials are put back into circulation as much as possible. This reduces the production, consumption and associated impacts of primary raw materials. Circularity is not only evident from the production of secondary raw materials, but the quality of the secondary materials towards subsequent applications is also important, and the ultimate goal is to meet our needs with minimal material input.

What does this indicator measure?

Secondary raw materials are originally by-products or materials that have reached the end of the waste phase and that can be used as raw materials under certain conditions and if they have a number of characteristics (as set out in Articles 36, 37 and 38 of the Materials Decree and Article 1.2.1 and Chapters 2 and 5 of VLAREMA). The indicator includes material flows that fall within the framework of the secondary raw materials in the VLAREA (up to and including production year 2010) and the raw materials scheme of the VLAREMA (since production year 2012), and for which sufficient data are available.

From 2012, the secondary raw materials produced are all materials that have reached the end-of-waste phase in accordance with European regulations. In addition, the list also includes materials for which there is no European regulation and for which the Flemish Government itself has defined criteria (former secondary raw materials according to VLAREA and material streams produced and used in metallurgy). These criteria include the origin, collection, nature and composition and method of application of the material in question.

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