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Bruxelles Propreté to accept only one type of bin for household waste

16:14 13/01/2024

Brussels residents who prefer to put out their household rubbish in a rigid bin, to avoid bags of waste being torn open by animals, have been told that only one type of bin will be accepted from this month.

Waste collection agency Bruxelles Propreté said it would only accept bin bags in a black container without a lid that can hold up to 80 litres of waste – either general or recyclables, but not mixed together.

The regional agency said that residents can use two of these bins – one for white general waste bags and the other to hold blue bags for metal cans, beverage cartons and plastics. These will now be the only ones accepted by the waste collection lorries, along with the small orange food waste bin.

Brussels residents cannot buy these bins from Bruxelles Propreté, but, like the orange bins, they can be obtained free of charge from your local commune.

The Brussels region allowed hard plastic bins to stop the problems of bags being split open by animals such as rats or crows looking for food, ending up in waste littering the streets.

These rigid containers have improved cleanliness. However, they also caused problems for waste collectors as there were so many different types.

“These bins cause real ergonomic problems and risk injury for our teams,” Bruxelles Propreté said. “If they are too deep or too bulky, this requires a lot of handling which, repeated several times a day, causes injuries for employees.”

Also from this month, residents in many Walloon Brabant communes will need to sort their packaging and waste more carefully.

General waste – in the white bag or in containers with electronic chips that encourage people to sort their waste effectively – will be collected fortnightly instead of weekly.

The change will happen gradually according to when existing contracts made between the waste collectors and the local communes come to an end.

The green bags for garden/organic waste will still generally be collected very week, except for a few commune. Communes opting for the digital bins will also have a twice-monthly service.

These bins identify their owners via an electronic card similar to a SIM card in a mobile phone. This means the waste authorities can see how much waste is generated per household.

The new system meets the need to cut costs, given the increased labour charges, higher fuel prices and money required to maintain the rubbish vehicles.

It also reflects the reduced quantity of waste in the white bag. This is because more plastic packaging, including plastic films and trays, can be put in the blue bag. In addition, food waste, which had made up at least 40% of the white bag, must now be sorted separately.

If you still want to get rid of your waste more often, for example to get rid of smelly items such as nappies, some communes operate a "bring system" where residents can put their waste into general and organic waste containers placed centrally via a prepaid badge.

Court-Saint-Etienne, Lasne and La Hulpe already operate fortnightly collections. Despite some reticence at the beginning of the scheme started early in 2023, regional authorities say the balance is “globally positive”.


Written by Liz Newmark