For several years, Brussels has been actively promoting its zero waste strategy to citizens, businesses and organisations of all kinds.
In this European Week for Waste Reduction, Alain Maron, Brussels' Minister for the Environment and Climate Transition, today signed the European Zero Waste City Charter with Zero Waste Europe. The Brussels region has thus committed itself to become a zero-waste city-region with Zero Waste Europe’s Zero Waste Cities programme. It is the first Belgian city and the first capital in Northern Europe to do so. Brussels also becomes the largest city in Europe to have signed the charter. The decision comes after year-long conversations between the region and Zero Waste Europe together with its Belgian member, Zero Waste Belgium.
Brussels will now join Zero Waste Europe’s Zero Waste Cities network, currently counting 445 cities and municipalities across the continent. The Belgian city is also the second European capital to join the network and commit to becoming a Zero Waste City, after Ljubljana (Slovenia).
The Region’s zero waste strategy includes a commitment to reduce waste by 20% per capita by 2030. By the end of 2022, and amongst other measures, a bio-waste separate collection will be mandatory for households and enterprises, which follows the recent implementation of a policy to extend the types of plastic possible for collection and recycling.
For several years, Brussels has been actively promoting its zero waste strategy to citizens, businesses and organisations of all kinds. Numerous actions are supported by Brussels Environment and are bearing fruit. To give just a few examples, the zero waste challenge shows that citizens can reduce the amount of waste to be incinerated by a factor of four, the call for zero waste projects for shops and catering establishments offers personalised assistance and financial support to these structures to move towards zero waste, and the call for BE Circular projects does the same each year for a dozen or so companies wishing to focus on the circular economy. With the signing of this charter, the Brussels Region is resolutely committed to becoming zero waste.
Commenting on Brussels’ zero waste journey, the Minister for the Climate Change, Environment, Energy and Participatory Democracy of the Brussels-capital region, Alain Maron, said: “Climate ambitions are being raised at European level and having just returned from COP26, I am even more convinced of the importance of drastically reducing the impact of our consumption. We are working on changing behaviour at source, with our citizens, with our administrations, but also with our companies.”
Joan-Marc Simon, Executive Director at Zero Waste Europe, said: “We’re thrilled to be able to welcome the Region of Brussels into our Zero Waste Cities programme. In doing so, Brussels becomes the first capital city in Northern Europe, the first in Belgium and the largest city within our programme to commit to being zero waste. We look forward to working with the City to help further implement its zero waste strategy in the coming months and years.”
Laurène Provost, President of Zero Waste Belgium, said: “We are proud to be part of the first regional entity participating in the Zero Waste Cities approach within Belgium and Northern Europe! That’s a huge opportunity for the region to achieve the objectives set in the Resource and Waste Management Plan in line with the waste hierarchy principle. We look forward to helping the region move towards a more circular economy and achieve even greater ambitions in the future!”
The stakes are high: resources are not inexhaustible. Every time an object is reused or not consumed, natural resources are not used. This saves energy and reduces greenhouse gas emissions from the extraction, manufacture, use, transport and end-of-life of products.
Drastically reducing waste is, therefore, a matter of health and climate.