Production of secondary raw materials

Primary raw materials (minerals) are extracted from soil or water. Secondary raw materials are by-products or materials that have reached the end of the waste phase but that, under certain conditions and if they have a number of characteristics (as set out in the Materials Decree and VLAREMA), can be used as raw materials.

28.8 million tonnes

In 2018, 28,756 kt of secondary raw materials were produced, compared to 13,684 kt in 2009.

What do we see?

As the graph below illustrates, the production of secondary raw materials has continued to increase since 2009. This is partly because flows that were reported neither as waste nor as secondary materials before the adjustment of VLAREMA are now reported as raw materials. This increase may therefore be an overestimation. However, at the end of 2019 OVAM launched the online symbiosis platform that allows them to carry out aggregated reporting on the amount of secondary raw materials actually being used instead of primary raw materials.

What’s the aim?

In a circular economy all secondary materials are reintroduced into the material cycle as raw materials, and the use of primary raw materials is limited. This reduces the environmental impact of the production and consumption of primary raw materials. To get closer to a circular economy it is therefore important to avoid the use of primary raw materials and to use secondary raw materials instead. 

What does this indicator measure?

By measuring how many secondary raw materials are actually being used instead of primary raw materials, we can determine to what extent we are evolving towards a circular economy. In addition, we also get a better picture of the reduction of our environmental impact brought about by limiting the use of primary raw materials.

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