Why sort your food waste?

Because everyone benefits!

Sorting means giving a second life to waste that represents 40% of the content of our white bags. When it is recycled into compost, your food waste is returned to the soil where it takes its part in our natural food cycle. We can also transform it into electricity and heat.

In short: it is full of richness, so why waste it?

Because it is compulsory in the Brussels Region from 15 May 2023.

Over the last few years, Brussels residents have been able to sort their food waste by using an orange bag, albeit on a voluntary basis.

In May 2023, food waste sorting becomes compulsory for all households. Only certain waste, such as bones or shells, should then be thrown into the white bag. All other food waste will have to be thrown into the orange bag, or must be taken to a neighbourhood compost bin or placed in an individual compost bin.

There are several good reasons why we should sort our food waste.

Firstly, this helps to reduce the amount of waste that is sent to landfills or incinerators, whilst protecting the environment. Sorting food waste means it can be used to produce energy or fertilisers, so these materials can be reused rather than wasted.

Moreover, by not burning this waste in an incinerator or tipping it into landfills, we avoid releasing tonnes of CO2 and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. It’s a simple way to protect the climate.

Lastly, when the white bags contain less waste, they can over time be collected less frequently, starting with the less-populated municipalities. In the long run, this will result in fewer trucks on our streets and improved air quality across the Brussels Region.

What happens to our food waste?

The white bag is for waste. Food waste placed in the orange bag or compost is turned into fertiliser or renewable energy!

Food waste’s new life depends on how it is reused:

  • The contents of our orange bags, after being collected separately, are sent to a biogas plant to produce energy (e.g. biogas to generate electricity or to run our buses), heat to keep our buildings warm, or natural fertiliser to enrich farmland and thus reduce the need for chemical fertilisers.
  • When placed in an individual compost bin, food waste produces nutrients for gardens or vegetable gardens.
  • When taken to a neighbourhood compost bin – there are more than 200 in the Brussels Region – food waste produces a 100% natural compost that can be used for planting in parks and community gardens.

Compare solutions

 
Authorized
Forbidden
Duration
Cost
Advice

Bin

Authorized
Fruit and vegetable peelings, coffee grounds, teabags, dead cut flowers, crushed eggshells, uncoloured cardboard and garden waste (leaves, twigs etc.)
Forbidden
Leftovers of animal origin (animal and fish bones etc.), compostable plastics, coloured paper and cardboard, dead flowers that have been treated (from the florist’s), ashes, charcoal etc.
Duration
Time until compost can be used: 6 to 12 months.
Cost
Between € 0 and € 150 depending on the compost bin. You might even be able to get a grant from your municipality.
Advice
Rest your compost bin on concrete tiles to improve its stability and protect it from rodents.

Vermi-compost

Authorized
Fruit and vegetable peelings, coffee grounds, teabags, dead cut flowers, crushed eggshells etc.
Forbidden
Garden waste, coloured paper and cardboard, dead flowers that have been treated (from the florist’s), dairy products, cooked foods, meat, fish, animal and fish bones, bread etc.
Duration
3 to 6 months for the compost and 1 month onwards for the leachate (‘worm juice’).
Cost
Between € 0 and € 80 depending on your choice: buying a wormery or making one at home.
Advice
Do not put too many citrus peelings in your wormery. The worms have sensitive skin!

Collective composting

Authorized
Fruit and vegetable peelings, coffee grounds, teabags, dead cut flowers, crushed eggshells, uncoloured cardboard etc.
Forbidden
Leftovers of animal origin (animal and fish bones etc.), biodegradable pet litter, coloured paper and cardboard, dead flowers that have been treated (from the florist’s), ashes, charcoal etc.
Duration
Time until compost can be used: 6 to 12 months.
Cost
€ 0: the project is eligible for a grant from the Region!
Advice
Join a collective project with your neighbours.

Orange bag

Authorized
Leftovers from meals, food past its use-by date, fruit and vegetable peelings, coffee grounds, teabags, kitchen roll etc.
Forbidden
Leftovers of animal origin (shells, animal and fish bones) and pits.
Duration
/
Cost
~ € 10/year
Advice
Use a free orange container to avoid visits from wild animals.