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The recycling industry in Flanders

Here’s what Flanders’ world-leading and state-of-the-art recycling industry can mean for your business.

Flanders has always been a pioneer in waste management and legislation. As such, waste is inventively used as a valuable raw material in the manufacturing of new products: an economically essential concept that lies at the basis of a green circular economy. Flanders, one of Europe’s major recycling hubs, has the know-how, enablers, projects and policies needed to support companies in the large-scale recovery and reuse of their materials. Discover the benefits the region has to offer for your business.

Flanders’ recycling industry in facts and figures

A sustainable recycling ecosystem

Flanders offers a solid business and knowledge ecosystem for your recycling activities. It includes research centers and platforms as well as cluster and other key organizations such as CINBIOS, Ceebio, Flanders Biobased Valley, VITO and OVAM. In addition, Flanders is home to major initiatives relevant to the recycling industry, like the award-winning Flanders’ Materials Program.

Recycling forerunners in Flanders

Several companies in Flanders have become European and international leaders in the processing of different waste streams, including municipal, industrial and packaging waste. Think of Indaver, Group Machiels and Umicore, to give just three examples.

All the talent at hand

Flanders offers dedicated, highly specific education and training programs to foster promising talent in the field of sustainability. These include:

  • Bachelor and Master programs at Ghent University faculties and research at its P3Lab;
  • Bachelor, Master and research programs at the University of Leuven’s Materials Research Centers;
  • Education programs at BRUFACE, the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Brussels. 

Specific incentives

Flanders offers incentives that are particularly relevant to research-intensive industries or ecology-minded companies. Examples include:

  • Strategic Ecology Support (STRES) – Financial support of up to 40% for SMEs and up to 30% for large enterprises that use technologies which are not included in the LTL list, and that are investing a minimum of EUR 3 million in strategic environment projects.
  • Investment deduction for R&D – 13.5% of acquisition value/qualifying asset or 20.5% of the depreciated amount;
  • Exemption of payment of 80% – of the personal income withholding tax of researchers in certain scientific fields.

Did you know…

  • … Flanders’ waste management industry is among the most successful in Europe? The waste management and recycling sector has grown by more than 5% per year in recent decades.
  • ... Belgium ranks number 1 in the recycling of packaging waste?
  • ... Belgium is an EU frontrunner in the collection of electronic waste?
  • ... today, about 71% of household waste in Flanders is collected separately at the source and is either reused, recycled or composted?
  • ... 27% of Flanders’ waste is burned in incinerators that are equipped with state-of-the-art flue gas cleaning systems and energy recovery systems?
  • ... less than 1% of household waste in Flanders ends up in a landfill?
  • ... the 2015 World Congress of the International Solid Waste Association (ISWA) took place in Antwerp (Flanders)?  

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