Industrial waste

  • Businesses in Flanders produce more than 16 million tonnes of primary waste

    In 2018, Flemish businesses produced 16,4 million tonnes of primary industrial waste. This quantity decreased between 2005 and 2009, but remained more or less stable afterwards.

    The biggest streams were construction and demolition waste (22%), sludge from water treatment (15%), contaminated soil (12%) and waste of vegetable or animal origin (10%). The first 3 streams are partly the consequence of the environmental policy. After all, rebuilding is necessary in order to achieve a more material- and energy-efficient building stock. In addition, the environment policy also encourages an increased level of connection to the sewers and rigorous soil decontamination. This inevitably results in waste. Some of this waste does, however, go to material recovery. Rocky construction and demolition waste is almost completely recycled, possibly after some form of pre-treatment.

    The amount of primary industrial waste excluding construction and demolition waste, sludge from water treatment and contaminated soil showed a decreasing trend between 2005 and 2009 but has since remained fairly stable. In 2018 it amounted to 8.4 million tonnes. The biggest fractions in this were waste of vegetable or animal origin (20%), non-selectively collected industrial waste or industrial residual waste (13,5%) and paper and cardboard waste, excluding packaging material (9%).

  • Three quarters of primary industrial waste and secondary raw materials get a second life

    In 2018, businesses, excluding the waste-processing sector, produced 16,4 million tonnes of primary waste and 6,8 million tonnes of secondary raw materials. 43% of this went directly to some form of material recovery: reuse, use as secondary raw material, recycling or composting. 3% went directly to incineration, 2% was directly dumped in landfills. The remaining 52% was sorted or otherwise pre-treated before being further processed.

    After possibly 1 additional step of sorting or another form of pre-treatment, 77% of the primary industrial waste and secondary raw materials went to material recovery. This share has been constant since 2012.


Public Waste Agency of Flanders (OVAM): Industrial waste 


Primary industrial waste: the waste produced by businesses, excluding waste from the waste-processing sector. This is waste that is generated at the premises of the original producer and not during a later processing of the waste. 

Secondary raw materials: raw materials that are not directly derived from nature, for example by-products of production processes or recycled materials. 

Publication date

20 December 2019

Next update

December 2020

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