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Liège, Belgium

IMPACTPaperRec / Liège, Belgium
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GENERAL DATA

NATIONAL AND REGIONAL SYSTEM

Legislation & targets

Belgium  is  a  federal  state,  comprising  three  regions  (Wallonia,  Flanders,  Brussels-Capital) and waste management is competence of the regions1. The waste legislation for the Walloon region, where Liège is located, includes the WM hierarchy as well as the principle of separate collection for a number of waste streams (including waste from paper and cardboard2).
The legislation entitles municipalities (via municipal regulation) to fix the frequency and the collection points, the method of collection (DtD, BB, RY,..), conditions for accepting waste and the actions taken to prevent and sanction violations.

EPR system

Graphic paper is subjected to take-back obligations by producers3.  Two sectors are distinguished: press and advertising. For the sector of the press, an environmental agreement has been reached between the Wallonia region and the federations representing the press4. According to the agreement, publishers of newspapers and magazines should provide space in their publications dedicated to dissemination of selected information concerning waste (ex. waste prevention, selective collection, etc.). For the advertising sector, there is a local tax on the distribution of printed advertisements.
Paper and cardboard packaging is regulated by the national transposition of the European Packaging Directive. A cooperation agreement between the three regions ensures that compliance with the Directive is the same nationally. The cooperation agreement introduces EPR requirements for producers of packaging waste (including paper and cardboard packaging). Two producer responsibility organisations have been created – one for household packaging waste (Fost Plus) and one for industrial packaging waste (Val-I-Pac). Environmental targets have to be met for each of the waste streams separately. The target for the recycling of paper and cardboard is 60%.

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WASTE COLLECTION SCHEME

Residual waste is collected door-to-door in authorised (yellow) plastic bags with a capacity of 30-60L, once a week. A certain amount of bags is already included in the waste fee (50 bags of 30l for single-person households or 50 bags of 60l for 4-people households). There are no limits on the numbers of bags used, but every extra bag has to be paid for additionally.
Recyclable waste is collected door-to-door once a week on the same day:
–    paper and cardboard packaging and graphic paper (tied by a rope or put in cardboard boxes or paper bags)
–    PMD (plastic bottles, flasks, metal cans and drink cartons) in blue bags
In addition, paper and cardboard can be brought to recycling yards without limits on quantities. There are 3 recycling yards for the City of Liège.
Glass packaging is collected in bring bank containers. Separate bio-waste collection exists on a voluntary basis since 2011.

Service to the citizens:

5,17 l/inh/week

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INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION

INTRADEL distributes to citizens’ mailboxes different information materials, usually attached to the letter with the annual waste fee. This includes calendars with information on collection throughout the year, various brochures, guidance for responsible sorting and explanations on proper sorting.

Fost plus – the producer responsibility organisation for household packaging – conducts regular information and awareness raising campaigns at national, regional and local levels. The local campaigns are conducted in collaboration with the municipalities (or associations of municipalities). These campaigns are general and cover all packaging fractions including paper-cardboard. In addition, the City of Liège conducts separate information campaigns on the territory of the city, focusing on public cleanliness and on sorting instructions.

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EVOLUTION PAPER & CARBOARD WASTE COLLECTED

In opposition to the quantity of residual waste which has seen a noticeable decline since 2005, the quantities of collected paper and cardboard have been rather stable although still with the trend to decline. This could be related to the general trend of decreased consumption of graphic paper, but also to targeted policies such as those who aim at preventing paper waste (ex. no-advertisement stickers on the mailbox).
In Liège, there is no collection of paper and cardboard in bring banks. Most of the paper and cardboard is collected door-to-door and some small quantities are also delivered to the three recycling yards available to citizens for that purpose.
Based on a residual waste analysis performed in 2009-2010 for the whole region of Wallonia, the amount of paper and cardboard found in residual waste is 14kg/inh/y.

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PAPER AND CARDBOARD WASTE TREATMENT

After separate collection, paper and cardboard is brought to a sorting plant operated by the social enterprise Recol’Terre. At the sorting plant paper and cardboard is separated both mechanically (first by size, then by thickness) and manually into grades of different quality5:
–    large cardboard boxes (grade 1.04.00): sold to a cardboard producing mill in the Netherlands
–    graphic paper (grade 1.11.00): sold to a newspaper-magazines producing mill in Belgium
–    mix of smaller-sized paper materials (grade 1.02.00) for which further manual separation is not economically viable
The focus in Liège is on separation at source i.e when the citizens separate their waste. The quality of PfR arriving at the sorting plant is therefore very high and few impurities are detected. It seems more important to separate the material correctly into the different qualities. Particularly for the highest quality (grade 1.11.00), there are maximum impurities levels allowed: 3% of lower paper grade components (brown paper, cardboard) and 1% of non-paper components. There have rarely been any issues with not meeting these standards.

A minor issue can arise in case there is moisture in the raw material (because of the climate and rain during collection). In such a case cardboard is more difficult to separate mechanically and more manpower is needed. Because of the principle of separation at source, residual waste is not treated additionally and goes directly for incineration. Paper and cardboard still found in residual waste is estimated to be around 14 kg/inh/y6.

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COSTS AND REVENUE, RESOURCES

The waste fee for the citizens consists of a fixed part (including 50 yellow bags for residual waste and depending on the number of people per household) and a variable part (the number of yellow bags they buy additionally).
The system is similar for shops (consisting of a fixed and a variable fee).
The amount of the fixed waste fee is the following:
The total cost for waste collection and sorting was €128/t in 2015, while the system generated revenues of €95.07. In 2015, the system therefore covered 74.27 % of the costs.

 

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STAKEHOLDER SATISFACTION

Very few citizens responses (2) have been collected by the deadline and therefore it was decided not to include their perspective in the analysis of stakeholder satisfaction.
From the rest of the stakeholders, 1 representative of each stakeholder group answered the questionnaire7.
There is an overall high level of satisfaction with the WM services provided by the municipality. Especially the WM company and the employee of the WM department of the municipality are very satisfied with all aspects of these services (reliability, quality, effectiveness, practicality, good value for money). The paper mill and the NGO are also on the positive side regarding the performance of the services albeit they are generally more reserved (i.e. they have responded “agree” instead of “strongly agree”).
In the view of all other stakeholders, citizens are well informed on how to sort their waste.

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MAIN PROBLEMS/CHALLENGES

Problems encountered with collection:
–    Regular theft because of high value of the materials. The city of Liège has estimated the annual financial loss due to stolen paper and cardboard at €35,0008.  It is unclear what happens with the stolen materials since there are no possibilities to sell it and get a reimbursment on the territory of Liège.
The WM company observes that the citizens do not always respect the times when they are supposed to put out their paper and cardboard for collection. At the same time, the collector is obliged by the municipality to pick up everything with the last collection round which happens to be for residual waste. The citizens are not aware of these requirements and this creates confusion since they think that the collector does not respect the sorting of the waste.

More information: Anne LIEBENS-LEDURE
INTRADEL scrl – Gestionnaire des collectes Fost Plus
anne.liebens@intradel.be
+32 4/240.74.67

 1 Waste management is of regional competency but Belgium as a state is the legal entity responsible of EU legislation compliance towards the EU.
 2 More specifically, the text mentions “dry and clean waste from paper and cardboard : packaging entirely made of paper and cardboard, newspapers, magazines, printed advertisements, writing paper, copy paper, computer paper, books, phone directories” (Arrêté du Gouvernement wallon du 5/03/2015 instaurant une obligation de tri de certains déchets,  Art.2 °11)
 3 Defined as « publications in the form of newspapers, daily or monthly press, magazines, free published press, printed advertisements, phone directories” (Arrêté du 23/09/2010 instaurant une obligation de reprise de certains déchets, 22°; Chapitre IV)
 4 Convention environnementale du 5/12/2013 relative à l’exécution de l’obligation de reprise en matière de déchets de papiers
 5 According to the EN643 standard
 6 Based on the last residual waste analysis for the Wallonia region performed in 2009-2010
  7 1 WM company, 1 paper mill, 1 employee of the WM department at the municipality, 1 NGO
  8 The calculation has been done based on the differential of collected quantities from the previous year (also taking into account paper consumption trends).

 

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