VITO was commissioned by the Public Flemish Waste Company (Openbare Vlaamse Afvalstoffenmaatschappij, OVAM) to map in a report the Flemish metal recycling sector. In this report, researchers also put forward key aspects for the future: which investments should the sector make to be a European leader by 2020?
As part of the Flemish Material Programme (Vlaams Materialenprogramma, VMP) researchers from VITO and KULeuven studied metal recycling in Flanders. They mapped the value of the existing metal recycling cluster in terms of economic contribution, innovation and environmental impact.
VITO proved that the Flemish metal recycling sector occupies a unique position, with strong industrial players, a well-performing collection and sorting policy, progressive governance and a strong research field. This was recognised internationally in December 2014: Flanders was assigned one of six regional expertise centres for the new European Knowledge and Innovation Community for Raw Materials (EIT, KIC Raw Materials).
In a project plan attached to the report, VITO proposes three guidelines for the future of the Flemish Material Programme:
- Maintain and enhance the current recycling cluster;
- Increase knowledge and technological development of recycling metals from complex streams, in order to be among the best in Europe by 2020;
- Strengthen strategic cooperation with other sectors to increase the impact on the entire metal cycle and stimulate economic growth.
VITO and KULeuven's report will be used by the Flemish Material Programme to direct the cooperation between the government, companies and research facilities. As such, the Flemish metal recycling cluster can continue to increase its role in the circular economy, both in Flanders and abroad.