Like many countries, Belgium has invested plenty of effort into waste collection, with white, blue, green, and yellow bins for recycling or disposing of your household waste in Belgium.
In Belgium, each region and commune has a different system of sorting waste. To find out what goes into which bag in your commune you can check www.fostplus.be (also in English).
Everything which does not go into the usual white, blue, green, and yellow bags, or glass containers in your neighborhood needs to be dropped elsewhere. 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 what cannot be brought there can also be found at www.fostplus.be. Chemical waste – like batteries, frying oil, toxic products e.g. ammonia, ink, paint, fertilizers, thermometers, compact fluorescent light bulbs, etc – can be brought to container parks.
In Brussels they can also 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 or www.netbrussel.be or you can call 0800/981.81.
For empty or used batteries, ink cartridges and even Brita water filters keep an eye open for collection points at various places where they are sold, like supermarkets, shops or even community centres and communes. All expired medication, half empty pills packages or medicine bottles can be brought back to your pharmacy. There’s a place for everything, you just have to know where to look.
Even better… Try to avoid creating the waste in the first place!
Here are some ideas to choose from:
- Compost your kitchen and garden waste
- Try to buy bulk or refillable packaging and take your own shopping bags or trolleys with you
- Plan your shopping well, avoid buying too much
- Why not refuse advertisement in your mail box?
- Consider buying second hand
- Lots of waste can be avoided by choosing glass bottles (or tetrapak) and why not change to tap water and get a drinking bottle for all family members
- Try to reduce your paper usage: e.g. double sided printing, cancelling your phone books
- Have you though of renting or sharing things like books, toys, machines
- Why not avoid diapers and join the cloth nappy group of the Brussels Childbirth Trust
- Avoid toxic waste: try to buy green appliances, cleaning, washing and garden products
- Try to avoid things which need batteries or else buy ones you can recharge
- Give it a thought and go for the sustainable stuff (long lasting, reusable and recyclable)
For more information and useful addresses on all these topics, we refer you to our website www.sunbeams.eu and if you would like to help with their project please contact them by email [email protected].
Photo credit: fostplus.be