FAQ

 

Orange bag

Where do you get rubbish bags for your organic food waste?

The orange bags for use in the region, with a ‘Bruxelles-Propreté’ print, are available from supermarkets.  Only these rubbish bags are permitted for the collection of food waste.

Where does your waste go?

To a biogas plant outside the Brussels Capital Region, in Ypres (Ieper) or Herstal.

How is your food waste treated?

Food waste is recovered in the form of biogas or sub-tunnel composting. The biogas process involves grinding and macerating organic waste with microorganisms in an oxygen-free environment. At the end of the process, we obtain biogas and digestate.

  • Biogas is used to generate power and heat simultaneously.
  • The digestate, under-composted organic matter, will be recovered through composting.

The organic matter remains in the containers for two to three weeks. Because the system is closed, it needs to undergo a supplementary maturation phase outdoors or in a building specifically for this purpose, for another two to three weeks.

What if you already make compost at home? Can you participate anyway?

Of course you can! Organic food waste collection is complementary to composting. You can throw the waste which takes longer to turn into compost (such as citrus fruits, meat or fish leftovers etc.) directly into your orange bag.

How can you limit unpleasant odours?

To limit this inconvenience, you can wrap your waste in a brown paper bag, bread bag or newspaper, for example. You can also seal your bag with a freezer bag clip or clothes peg.

Why use the container?

The container is only to be used for collections. It may hold more than one bag, keeping the public space clean despite the presence of animals. Your waste must be put in a bag. The bags must be put into the container. Then put your container in front of your home on collection day.

What are the advantages of food waste collection?

  • A lighter white bag. Bruxelles Propreté’s estimations show that 40% of the weight of our rubbish consists of organic food waste.
  • The quantity of waste sent to the incinerator is reduced.
  • Depending on the method used, this waste treatment makes it possible to produce renewable energy and natural fertiliser.

 

 

Compost

What exactly is compost?

Compost is an organic soil improver that has the appearance and consistency of loose, almost black soil, with a pleasant, forest-floor scent. It is the result of a decomposition process in which various organic substances (of plant or animal origin) are converted by living organisms (fungi, bacteria, worms, woodlice etc.) into a kind of humus under controlled conditions of aeration and humidity.

Initially consisting of 97% organic matter, compost contains living organisms as well as mineral elements which pass into the water in the soil, where they feed the plants.

Where can you buy a wormery?

There are several shops that sell individual composting equipment in Brussels. The prices vary from shop to shop. Brussels Environment has issued a special publication with a list of retailers that sell individual composting equipment.

Where can you get a compost bin?

Brussels Environment has issued a special publication with a list of retailers that sell composting equipment. You can download the list here.

Which municipalities offer grants for buying a compost bin?

The list of municipalities that offer their residents grants to buy a compost bin or wormery can be obtained by following this link.

How do you make good compost successfully?

To make good compost in your own garden, whatever the technique you use (except a wormery), be sure to bear these 7 rules in mind. They will help you throughout the composting process.

1. Start in the spring, summer or autumn. The composting process slows down in cold weather and the materials take longer to decompose.

2. Add organic material that is as fresh as possible to your compost bin. That way you can avoid problems with odours.

3. Do not add waste in large pieces. The smaller the pieces of organic matter that you add to your compost, the more quickly they will decompose.

4. Mix well.For optimal compost, it is crucial to ensure a balance (50/50) and a good mixture of green/wet matter and brown/dry matter.

5. Avoid adding large quantities all at once.In particular, this means a single type of waste to be composted (e.g. grass cuttings).

6. Ensure optimal aeration.In fact, air flow is crucial to allow the organisms in the compost to do their work properly.

7. Be sure to maintain optimal moisture. The compost should be damp but not wet. Using a cover will allow you to control the addition of moisture.

How do you know if your compost is good?

Good compost is uniform, with a lovely dark colour and little recognisable matter in it. Wood, which decomposes slowly, is very often found in mature compost. It should be possible to crush any twigs you find in your compost with your fingers. If you find larger sticks, they should be easy to break. Mature compost should also be relatively dry, aerated, with a pleasant forest floor scent

What can you do with your compost?  

The compost you have produced can be used to grow all kinds of plants: vegetables, perennials, the lawn, annual flowers etc.

Finished, completely mature compost will only be used for trees and bushes, in mixtures for seed beds and flowerbeds, and also for the lawn. It needs to be sieved before use. Large pieces that are still there after sieving can be put back into the compost bin (with grass cuttings, for example) where they will serve to activate the compost.

 

What if you have not found the answer to your question?

See the FAQ at Worms, a non-profit organisation that works in organic waste management in Brussels.