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Renewi (NL/UK) invests in Flanders’ circular economy

'Protecting the world by giving new life to used materials' is the main ambition of Renewi, the largest waste management company in the Benelux. The Dutch-British group, formed in 2017 after the merger of Van Gansewinkel and Shanks, has extensive plans to recycle more waste in Flanders. Among these is an investment of EUR 40 million in waste sorting facilities, three mattress recycling plants and further investment in the plastics value chain at North Sea Port in Ghent.


1 million mattresses

Renewi started a pilot project to recycle mattresses with IKEA in the Netherlands a number of years ago. The Swedish furniture store is the largest mattress producer in the Benelux. Two years ago, the companies joined forces with mattress recycler RetourMatras in a joint venture, creating an annual recycling capacity of 1 million mattresses. Renewi now has three mattress recycling plants in the Netherlands. The company is now looking to Belgium to do the same, confirmed CEO Otto de Bont.

With an estimated 1 to 1.2 million mattresses discarded in Belgium each year, de Bont estimates that the firm can recycle at least two-thirds of them. Currently, most discarded mattresses in Belgium are burned. The hope is to create a circular mattress and make new ones out of the old ones.

Sorting industrial waste

In addition, Renewi also plans to invest EUR 40 million in three waste sorting plants in Flanders to finely sort 315,000 tons of industrial waste per year. The first plant should be ready by the end of 2022.

Plastic recycling

Finally, Renewi is putting the finishing touches on its new sorting line for plastic recycling at North Sea Port in Ghent. The installation will recycle polypropylene and polyethylene into 25,000 tons of 'new' plastic. This circular plastic will then go to injection mills to be formed into new plastic products.

Renewi's plans for Flanders and Belgium don’t stop there, however. The company is currently looking into the possibility of transferring its Dutch procedure for converting food waste into clean fuel to Belgium. It also hopes to become more involved in the recycling of construction and demolition waste.

About Belgium and Flanders

With Dutch as its official language, Flanders (Dutch: Vlaanderen) is the autonomous northern region of Belgium. The capital of both Belgium and Flanders is Brussels.

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Reported by
De Tijd newspaper
12 July 2021

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