What do we see?
In 2013-2014, packaging accounted for 27% of the residual waste collection in Flanders. 15% (137kt) of this could have been sorted and collected for recycling.
In the graphs below, we see how the figures have evolved compared to 2006. They show that the amount of residual waste has decreased slightly (-3%) but that the proportion of packaging has actually grown (+10%). If we look at the types of packaging that ended up in the residual waste, we see that the biggest relative increase was in drink cartons (+128%) and the biggest absolute increase was in plastic bottles (+1.49 kg/person). The biggest decrease, in both relative and absolute terms, was seen in metal packaging.
What’s the aim?
Non-degradable waste streams are produced throughout the food chain, from the production to the consumption phase. As with types of organic residues, we need to avoid waste in the first place. If this is not possible, then we need to extract as much value as possible from it. For non-degradable waste, this can be achieved through prevention, reuse and recycling. There is an important role for eco-design here, where the end-of-life phase is already taken into account during production.
Food packaging is not the only form of non-degradable waste, but it is responsible for a large part of the waste produced by consumers. This is why we are only focusing on this currently. In a later phase, we will also look at other non-degradable waste streams (e.g. commercial packaging).
The sorted collection of consumer packaging generally works well in Flanders. However, a large amount of it still ends up in the residual waste. We do need to keep in mind that the sorted collection of this type of waste was expanded in 2014, so it will be very interesting to analyse the evolution of the figures after the completion of the study that is currently running.
What does this indicator measure?
This indicator shows how much food packaging ends up in the residual waste collection in Flanders. To collect data on this, OVAM carries out a periodic study of a representative sample of residual waste bags. The most recent study started in 2021 but is still running, which is why the most recent data available is from the period 2013/2014.