Over time, in Belgium, the circular economy has imposed itself as a fundamental challenge for the future. It has to be said that our country is recognised as being a pioneer in this field. Whether in the field of waste sorting or the recycling of raw materials, Belgium is a European and global leader. Today, the transition to a circular economy is proving to be one of the solutions of the future that will allow future generations to live in a sustainable planet. Although there are many challenges and obstacles, there are just as many promising opportunities that are waiting to be seized. Through a series of thematic workshops, and with a strong wish to work with all interested parties, we propose that you deepen your thinking and take action ...

The circular economy in Belgium: challenges and opportunities

Challenges:

Over time, the transition to a circular economy has become a major political and social challenge in Belgium.  But why is it so fundamental? The answer lies in the many considerable challenges faced not only by Belgium but by the entire world.

  • The limited nature of resources
  • The growth of the global population
  • The low carbon transition requires the use of new types of material (rare metals, critical material).
  • The concentration of these materials in politically unstable regions poses many social and political problems and places great strain on markets.
  • The scarcity of stocks of raw materials, which causes supply insecurity

Opportunities:

In view of these many challenges, it is good to see that there are also many opportunities, especially for Belgium which benefits from a central location in the heart of Europe in a unique market of more than 500 million consumers.  On a political level, Belgium, as a founding member of the European Union, can help to increase the taking into account of the principles of the circular economy among European bodies.

These opportunities include:

  • The reduction of environmental and associated social pressures resulting from a more effective and economical use of resources.
  • Belgium's strategic position, which, in particular, offers the logistics sector an opportunity to be active in the different steps of a product's life cycle.
  • Already leaders in terms of waste collection, Belgium can benefit from this potential and assert itself as a pioneer in this sector.
  • Belgian companies are also known around the world as being at the cutting-edge for recycling, including for complex products.
  • The potential creation of several thousand direct and indirect jobs in this recruiting ground which the circular economy represents.

A transition that implies deep-seated changes

The transition to a circular economy implies a certain number of developments and changes:

  • Innovations in the technological field
  • Innovations in economic and social processes
  • Changes in mentality, as much by manufacturers as consumers. (Examples: the functional service economy – "Product as a service", innovative leasing systems, equipment sharing and/or collective use systems, etc.).

A roadmap comprising 21 measures

In order to further the integration of all social players into this process, the federal government, via the voice of the Minister of the Economy, and the Minister of Energy, Environment and Sustainable Development, has set up 21 measures ranging from consumer protection to the setting up of strategic monitoring in recycling centres, not to mention the reduction of the dispersion of microplastics and the drawing up of reliable repairability and recyclability criteria.

Contact information

FPS Health, Food Safety and environment

Eurostation II

Victor Horta place, 40/10

1060 Brussels

E-mail : ateliers-ec2018@health.fgov.be