What to Do with Your Household Waste in Belgium

Written by Ilke
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Photo by suzienewshoes on flickr!In Belgium, each region and even each commune has a different system of sorting waste. To find out how what goes into which bag in your commune you can check www.fostplus.be. Everything which does not go into the usual white (general waste), blue (PMD - Plastic bottles and flasks, Metal packaging and Drinks), green (garden waste) and yellow (paper) bags or glass containers in your neighbourhood needs to be dropped elsewhere and it might sometimes be difficult to find out where.

To start with, each commune has a “container park” and the exact location, opening hours and rules of what can and cannot be brought there are to be found on the above mentioned website.

Chemical waste - like batteries, frying oil, left-over from toxic products e.g. ammoniac, ink, paint, fertilizers, thermometers, saving light bulbs, etc - can be brought to container parks. In Brussels they also can be dropped at “mobile green spots” (Coins Verts Mobiles/Mobiele Groene Plekjes). The hours and locations of these collection points change every month and the complete list can be found at your commune or on www.bruxelles-proprete.be/www.netbrussel.be or you can call 0800/981.81.

For electrical and IT waste check our dedicated article on e-waste.

For empty or used batteries, ink cartridges and even Brita water filters keep an eye open for collection points at various places like supermarkets, shops and community centers or communes.

All expired medication, half empty pills packages or medicine bottles can be brought back to your pharmacy.

Avoid creating the waste in the frst place

  1. Compost your kitchen and garden waste.
  2. Buy bulk or refillable packaging and take your own shopping bags or trolleys with you.
  3. Avoid food spillage and plan your shopping well, e.g. by using a weekly meal plan.
  4. Reduce advertisement in your mailbox.
  5. Think about buying second hand or try freecycling.
  6. Lots of waste can be avoided by choosing glass bottles (or Tetrapaks). And why not change to tap water and get a drinking bottle for all family members?
  7. Reduce paper in your house and life: print on both sides, ditch paper phone books...
  8. Have you though of renting or sharing things, like books, toys, machines?
  9. Why not avoid diapers and join the cloth nappy group of the Brussels Childbirth Trust?
  10. Avoid toxic waste: try to buy green appliances, cleaning, washing and garden products.
  11. Avoid things which need batteries or else, buy rechargeable batteries.
  12. Go for the sustainable stuff (long lasting, reusable and recyclable).
This article originally appeared in  the February 2009 edition of the Sunbeams newsletter.
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