By Cecilia Allen and the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives
The Flemish region of Belgium boasts the highest waste diversion rate in Europe. Almost three-fourths of the residential waste produced in the region is reused, recycled, or composted. Since the first Waste Decree was approved in Flanders in 1981, regional goals (for overall residential waste generation, separate collection, and residual waste after source separation and home composting) have been met and then exceeded, allowing more ambitious goals to be set in subsequentwaste plans that are developed every four to five years. With these successes, the emphasis of waste management policies transitioned from disposal to source separation and recycling, and finally to waste prevention. Per capita waste generation in Flanders has held steady since 2000, showing a rare example of economic growth without increased waste generation.