Planet – Industrial waste
Sector generates only 5% of Belgian industrial waste
The generation, treatment and disposal of waste may pose risks to human health and the environment. Waste management in the chemicals, plastics and life sciences industry is based on the following hierarchy: prevention, re-use and recycling, and energy recovery. Unavoidable waste must be treated optimally to limit its environmental impact as much as possible. A distinction is made between hazardous and non-hazardous waste.
In 2015, the Belgian chemicals, plastics and life sciences industry accounted for 5% (825 kilotonnes) of all industrial waste. This positive result has been achieved partly thanks to cluster collaboration, with the waste- and side-streams of one company serving as raw materials for another. This kind of industrial symbiosis is typical of the sector.
Substantial efforts have been made in the field of material and energy recovery. Some two-thirds (64%) of all waste generated by the sector in 2015 was recovered either as materials or as energy. The positive trend towards optimal use of waste is clear: in 2001, the recovery rate was just 43%.
About 47% of the waste generated by the chemicals, plastics and life sciences industry is hazardous. Most of this is treated in Belgium and 64% is recovered, with the remainder processed under safe and strict conditions.