Adopted in 2018 and officially launched in early 2020, the Brussels Resource and Waste Management Plan (PGRD) developed by ACR+ member Brussels Environment for the Brussels-Capital Region deals with the link between our consumption, our waste and global warming. Two years and a pandemic later, the picture presented in the introduction to the PGRD remains valid and is showing signs of growing more acute. It is therefore necessary to perform an interim evaluation of the plan in order to determine the qualitative progress that has been made, what remains to be done and key indicators.

Shortly after the official launch of the Brussels Resource and Waste Management Plan (PGRD), Belgium and the world were shaken by the COVID-19 pandemic. This public health crisis had a profound impact on our lives, our interactions, our consumption and our democracies. The world reorganised and individualised in order to protect itself.

However, the picture presented in the introduction to the PGRD remains valid and is showing signs of growing more acute: the latest IPCC report from August 2021 once again sounds the alarm. ‘Worse and faster than feared, global warming could reach the threshold of +1.5 ° C around 2030, ten years earlier than estimated.’

The objectives and measures of the PGRD are therefore more relevant than ever. Limiting and thinking about our purchases, sorting and recycling are no longer options but imperatives, in order to come to terms with both this increasingly urgent situation and the reorganisation of our lifestyles imposed by the pandemic.

At mid-term, the indicators suggest that the measures are being taken on board and implemented well, with clear progress despite the health crisis. The main areas of progress can be summarised as follows:

• Transposition of European directives: The Region has succeeded in setting ambitious recycling targets and strengthening the legal framework for extended producer responsibility (EPR). It has also increased the incineration tax, introduced a framework for the management of healthcare waste and adopted new sorting obligations for businesses.

• Structuring of the bio-waste management policy: A support system for citizens and businesses has been implemented for the management of bio-waste. The Region has also adapted the regulations to facilitate composting and make the sorting of bio-waste compulsory, and has developed a decentralised small-scale composting network. Finally, the PGRD has made it possible to validate the roadmap for the introduction of a biomethanation unit in the Brussels Region.

• Development of a support system for citizens who wish to commit to Zero Waste.

• Encouragement of household sorting: The Region has set up a working group to assess the support and infrastructure needs with a view to encouraging household sorting. This group is also working to strengthen collaboration between public bodies on the implementation of the recommendations.

• Numerous calls for projects aimed at the municipalities and public welfare centres, voluntary organisations or groups of citizens with a view to providing financial support and guidance to projects aimed at reducing waste.

• Raising awareness among younger people.

• Support for sorting by businesses: The PGRD has worked on the development of a guidance service and a sorting support strategy for businesses, including inspection.

• Sustained encouragement of the circular economy: This action mainly took the form of subsidies for innovative businesses, in particular the Be Circular and Zero Waste Retail calls for projects.

• Support for reuse: The structuring of the support policy for economic actors involved in reuse and the development of a strategy on access to potentially reusable waste and suitable collection practices.

However, there is still a long way to go. In terms of performance, the Region needs to work harder to achieve the European objectives for preparing waste for reuse and recycling set for 2020. Its development of its infrastructure and services to the population in this respect is currently limited. This issue will therefore be central over the next few years.

The work of the next 30 months will focus on continuing and consolidating the progress made so far. The plan must strengthen the support given to citizens and businesses with the sorting and prevention of waste, in particular with respect to bio-waste and packaging. It must also ensure the implementation of the legal and regulatory recommendations in terms of EPR, single-use plastics and end-of-waste status. Finally, the PGRD will provide support to

innovative economic actors in the circular economy and develop a network of facilities adapted to the specific characteristics of Brussels.

In conclusion, the general picture has been encouraging since the beginning of the PGRD’s implementation. Clear progress has been made with the measures, but there is still a long way to go. In the years ahead, the focus will be on recycling, preparation for reuse and bio-waste. These issues are central for the Region to achieve the European objectives, and are more relevant than ever in view of the climate crisis.

Would you like to know more about the results and priorities for each target group? View the interim evaluation report in French or in Dutch.

More information about the Brussels Resource and Waste Management Plan (PGRD) in French here and in Dutch here.


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