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Recycling in the Regions: Wallonia – Management of ceramic recycling in Wallonia

During the last number of years, environmental regulations in Wallonia have greatly changed, in response to directives on the matter from Europe. The social, legal and financial pressures resulting from these regulations obviously affect the ceramic sector, which, although not a « very polluting » sector, is nonetheless confronted with environmental problems.

From a management point of view, a large number of companies have ISO9000 certification, however, some (currently 2 companies) are in the process of finishing the adoption of an environmental management system ISO14001. Although this seems a small number it is significant in a country that still only has a limited number of ISO14001certifications. Another very significant aspect is management of industrial waste, taking into account the Walloon waste plan « HORIZON 2010 », which will severely limit the types of waste acceptable in landfill. The ceramic sector in Wallonia has positioned itself along 2 strategic axes: Seeking routes to add value to waste products thereby avoiding landfill dumping. For example: Pilot tests have been carried out to re-use ceramic waste as a dry powder filler in thermosetting plastics and resins.

Fired ceramic scrap is reincorporated in mixtures for the manufacture of bottom-of-the-range refractories.

The majority of companies treat their liquid effluents and the recovered enamel and slurry waste is recovered with the filter cake mud in most cases. Adding value to these muds remains an unsolved problem and companies are actively seeking solutions. To use waste coming from other industrial sectors as alternative raw materials, thereby reducing costs and increasing profitability.

It is mainly the brick and refractory (bottom-of-the-range concrete products) sectors that are active in this field. Currently, the most commonly used waste products are schist fines, porphyry, sawdust, mud from paper mills and sawmills and foundry sands. Research work is underway to exploit dredging mud, mud from purification stations, waste refractory, etc.

In general, the actions listed above are undertaken on a company by company basis without dialogue within the sector.

However, because the refractory materials sector has a very strong presence in Wallonia, in terms of manufacturers and users, it is restructuring itself in order that concerted and coherent actions can take place.

A « refractory group » has been initiated, bringing together industrialists from all stages of the life cycle of refractory products, producers, fitters, users, dismantlers and recyclers, in order to structure these actions.

This structure will act in a number of ways:

  • Creation of a unit providing assistance and advice on recycling of refractory products.
  • Commencement of a research programme concerning recycling of heavily polluted refractory products.
  • Creation of a processing centre for this « difficult » waste. Setting up a databank specific to the sector.

For further information contact:

Avenue Gouverneur Cornez, 4
B-7000 Mons
Tel: +32 (0)65 40 34 34
Fax: +32 (0)65 34 80 05
Email: info@bcrc.be
Url: http://www.bcrc.be
Avenue Gouverneur Cornez, 4
B-7000 Mons
Tel: +32 (0)65 40 34 34
Fax: +32 (0)65 34 80 05
Email: recywall@bcrc.be
Url: http://www.recywall.be

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