Flanders Recycling Hub

‘Waste is the new gold’, so the saying goes. It’s a fact that there’s huge economic potential in recycling. The ambitious ‘Flanders Recycling Hub’ project aims to put Flemish ports on the global map in order to attract flows of materials and recycling activities.

status: Closed | theme: Green Supply Chains | type: Regional

Waste as a commodity

Waste is no longer a dirty word. On the contrary: it’s now a commodity and Flanders aims to attract these new flows of materials. So, in 2012, the Openbare Vlaamse Afvalstoffenmaatschappij (OVAM) launched the public-private ‘Flemish Materials Programme’. One of the strategic leverage projects of this programme is the development of Flanders as a recycling hub for Europe via its seaports.

Attracting flows

VIL’s ‘Flanders Recycling Hub’ is part of this strategy. It aims to mark out a roadmap for developing Flanders into an international recycling hub where materials are delivered, recycled and re-exported. “Flemish companies already have extensive expertise in the area of recycling. They’re world leaders. But that’s not enough to make Flanders a recycling hub on an international scale. The flows of materials won’t just turn up.

Booming business

Through this project, VIL aims to investigate how the favourable logistical basis and existing knowledge can be used to put Flanders firmly on the map for the circular economy. This business is growing strongly and offers promising opportunities, not just for specialist industry, but also for logistics service providers, the waste sector and shipping companies.

From analysis to pilot project

The project is carried out by VIL and 26 companies, in partnership with OVAM and VITO (Flemish Institute for Technological Research).

Firstly, various factors are studied. What flows of materials (e.g. paper, glass, used cars) currently exist? What is their origin, destination and size and which can we bring here? What (emerging) recycling technologies are there? What does Flemish legislation permit? How do other ports defining themselves as recycling hubs tackle this? An actual cost-benefit sheet and logistics concept will be drawn up for the most promising flows and the most promising case will be tested in practice in a pilot project.


The findings will be used to create a roadmap setting out the opportunities for Flanders and translating them into an action plan. The function of the project will therefore be partially advisory. It will make Flanders and its companies better able to estimate the investments and infrastructure requirements and deal with any hindering factors. The results will be known at the end of 2017.


Start: June 2015
Kick-off: September 2015
Lead time: 32 months

Participating companies

3M, Agfa Graphics, Alders Internationaal Transport, BASF, Bebat, Belgian Scrap Terminal, Bollegraaf Recycling Solutions, Cemlog, Fostplus, Gemeentelijk Havenbedrijf Antwerpen, GTS, Havenbedrijf Gent, Haven van Zeebrugge, Indaver, IOK, IVBO, Kunnig, Maatschappij Linkerscheldeoever, POM West-Vlaanderen, Ravago Production, Recmix, Shanks België, Sureca, Umicore, Van Gansewinkel and Vanheede Environmental Logistics.


3M Agfa Alders transport Basf Bebat Belgian Scrap Terminal Bollegraaf Recycling Solutions Cemlog Fostplus GTS GHA_Port of Antwerp Havenbedrijf Gent Haven Zeebrugge Indaver IOK Afvalbeheer IVBO Kunnig 50 jaar Maatschappij Linkerscheldeoever POM West-Vlaanderen Ravago Shanks België Sureca Umicore Van Gansewinkel Vanheede

Sounding board

Agoria, Vlaamse Confederatie Bouw, MOW, Essenscia, Febem and FIT.

Agoria Vlaamse Confederatie Bouw_CMYK-02 MOW Essenscia Febem FIT


Press releases (in Dutch)


VIL stands for a strong logistical Flanders

About VIL

Koninklijkelaan 76 - B-2600 Berchem
T: +32 3 229 05 00
E: info@vil.be
VAT: BE 0480.185.038
IBAN: BE59 0014 0122 5826