From 18 to 20 November, Belgium will host the Hotspot of the circular economy. It will be an opportunity to get to know some of the leading companies and research centres in Antwerp, Brussels, Ghent and the heart of the Hainaut region.
Belgium boasts a large number of companies in the circular economy that are leaders in their fields of activity: sustainable chemistry, new technologies and clean technologies, recovery of metals and construction materials, cement works, etc. On 19 November, in Antwerp, Brussels, Ghent and in the heart of Hainaut (Mons), the companies, engines of the circular economy, will open their doors to the participants of Hotspot.
At the initiative of Hotspot 2019, Marie Christine Marghem, Federal Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development, stressed the exemplary role of these companies: "Not only does the circular economy create a virtuous circle, in contrast to a linear model, it is essential today in the context of depleted resources and biodiversity. We are proud to highlight the companies which are active in this field, to show their expertise and to demonstrate that this sector of the future is a source of jobs. "
Each city has designed a route that highlights innovations driven by companies, research and development departments, universities, as well as incubators and business accelerators created by public authorities. If there is one area where private-public partnership is flourishing, it is the circular economy. Even citizen organisations have joined the movement.
Antwerp, Europe's second largest port, is fully involved in developing the circular and low-carbon economy. On the banks of the Scheldt, Blue Gate is one of Belgium's leading business parks specialising in circular economies. Circular South is a district in the south of Antwerp where residents and companies work together to establish a more sustainable lifestyle through new technologies. At the University, incubators (Blue App and Blue Chem) support start-up companies as well as start-ups and companies that are committed to sustainable chemistry. Companies such as Umicore, which recycles rare metals from mobile phones and computers, have led the way. As early as 2013, Umicore was ranked among the 100 most sustainable companies in the world.
In Brussels, innovation and experimentation in the circular economy have led to the creation of new economic activities. Studio CityGate, a partnership between a company specialising in the temporary occupation of buildings and the region's development agency, has transformed an old industrial building into modular spaces for entrepreneurs, artisans and artists. Recy-K, the experimental space of the Regional Agency in charge of waste collection and treatment, welcomes and supports companies that valorise waste. The Greenbizz incubator offers offices and production workshops to innovative start-ups and makes City Fab1, its business accelerator, available to them.
Not far from Mons, pioneering companies are recycling and aiming for optimal use of resources. Comet Traitements is a company active in metals trading and recycling. It shreds metal waste and extracts sand components that replace sea sand in the manufacture of bituminous asphalt. The Wanty Group uses this by-product to produce 300 tonnes of asphalt every hour. An excellent example of industrial symbiosis! The company Holcim collects industrial waste for Belgian cement plants. Holcim is among the European and world leaders in cement component substitution. It has also developed dismantling techniques that make it possible for concrete to be completely recycled and reused.
The businesses of the city also specialise in recovering and optimising the use of resources. Their activities complement each other in a remarkable industrial symbiosis. This is the case in particular with the Steelanol plant of Arcelor Mittal and a hub specialised in CO2 capture and reuse which will be launched soon. All these companies have set up shop in the port basin. But other actors are also 'firing up' the city, such as the technology park with its numerous laboratories providing services to companies, the PLASTICITY and URBCON European projects and the New Docks project, which combines urban development, circular economy and business cases focused on new technologies.
Would you like to know more about the activities of these innovative companies?
Information for journalists
The complete programme of the Hotspot and company visits is available at https://circulareconomyhotspotbelgium.be/
For all interview requests, company visits and provision of information material, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org