Recycling rate of building materials

This indicator offers more insight into the recycling rate of building materials in Flanders. Here, we look at not only the amount and type of construction waste but also the treatment processes of this waste.


  • In 2018, the total amount of construction waste in Flanders was 7,601,486 tonnes. The majority of this came from the construction industry.
  • More than 96% of this waste gets reused as secondary raw materials or is incinerated for energy recovery.

What do we see?

In 2018, the construction industry was responsible for the production of 4,496,003 tonnes of construction waste. The majority of this (59%) was inert waste such as tiles and bricks etc. In 72% of the cases, it is unclear how this waste was treated (see pie chart below).

In the graph below, we see that 96.9% of the construction waste reported by OVAM in 2016 was also recycled. Furthermore, this figure remains relatively constant over the years. The same can also be said of the reuse and energy recovery figures.

What’s the aim?

Construction waste is created by building and demolition work as well as local government projects. In a circular economy, it is important that these materials are recycled to reduce the demand for primary raw materials. A large proportion of construction waste can in fact be reused without having to tap into new materials.

However, we do need to take into account the quality of the recovered materials as this also has an influence on the potential to recycle them. The lower the quality, the more often materials are downcycled or incinerated. In a circular economy, we aim for the complete opposite: high-quality materials and a preference for upcycling. 

What does this indicator measure?

This indicator shows how much and what type of construction waste is produced in Flanders. In addition, it offers more insight into the recycling rate of this waste and its potential as secondary raw materials. The data comes from OVAM.

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