Danny Wille (OVAM)
Head of service household waste
Tel +32 15 284 135
The objective of the flemish household waste policy is to obtain 13% prevention in 2007 compared with 2000. The aim is to uncouple the growth of the amount of waste from the economic growth and the growth of the population. Since 2001 this uncoupling is a fact.
In Flanders the local authorities are responsible for the prevention, seperate collection and treatment of the household waste. They can undertake themselves the collection and treatment, or they can use private or public actors to do so. The Public Waste Agency of the flemish region (OVAM) tries to reach the 6 million inhabitants via the 308 municipalities, who work together in 27 associations of municipalities. OVAM uses different instruments to stimulate prevention and ecoconsumption via the local authorities.
Since 2002 the flemish region pays 70% of the net-investment (without VAT) of the local authorities for the buying of some prevention stimulating items, such as: compost bin, breadbox, reusable shopping bag, reusable beverage beaker, wormery, drinking fountain, reusable nappy, investments in prevention projects (software, hardware, electronic cards, ), educational material
Each municipality can enter into a voluntary environmental agreement with the flemish region in order to try to reach the objectives in the contract. Concerning prevention the municipality has to behave as an example to the families and inform them about the use of environmentally friendly products and materials such as office equipment, catering products, construction and maintenance of the garden, cleaning products, construction materials... They have to give lots of information about prevention of paper, organic waste, packaging waste, and reach the families financial or logistic support to prevent waste. They have to work together with some target groups (older people, schools, )
Every year the OVAM has some information campaigns about prevention of waste. The local authorities are asked to communicate at the same time to the people in order that both the communication campaigns strenghten each other. In 2000 the OVAM created a support and information center called STIP that gathers all the available information about prevention and ecoconsumption. STIP distributes this information to the local authorities and other actors who can use it to create a prevention policy towards the population.
Since 1995 OVAM constructed a network of 40 reuse centres. Local authorities
were financially stimulated to cooperate with these centres. They collect reusable
furniture, electrical and electronical equipment, toys and leisure items, clothing,
for free and resell those goods at a low price. In 2003 they've collected
more than 20.000 tons reusable goods whose end-of-life has been postponed for
a certain time.
For a municipality the most important instrument to stimulate prevention and selective collection is the principle 'the pollutor pays' where differenttiated tarification has been used. The population has to pay the full price for the residual waste (1.25 euro/bag of 60 l.). For some selectively collected waste streams they have to pay the full price (which is lower than the price for the residual waste) or a part of the full price (garden waste, demolition waste, ). For logistic utilities and support for prevention such as compost bins, the price has to be very low or even for free for the families.
Through pilot projects with local authorities, where OVAM pays a percentage of the total projectcosts, innovating technology or initiatives or approaches have been tested. An example is the project 'Retour is terug' (retour is back) where the population is stimulated to buy reusable beverage bottles or packaging via a smartcardsystem. Each time they buy a reusable bottle they save up a point. Each point has a financial value. At the end of the year the municipality pays back an amount of their wastetax. After 3 years a certain reduction of the beverage packagingwaste has been noticed.
Since 2002 OVAM searches at indicators to measure the amount of prevention in order to communicate the results to the municipalities and the population. The following indicators are already used: the amount of waste collected and resold by the reusecentres, the amount of compostbins sold, the relation between the evolution of the amount of waste and the Gross National Product