Our organization


The Public Waste Agency of Flanders (OVAM) is considered an international frontrunner on sustainable waste and materials policy, soil management and the transition to a circular economy. The story of OVAM and our successes started four decades ago.

  • 2021

    The ‘CE’ Center (Center for Circular Economy) is pioneering with the development of a set of indicators that will allow us to monitor our progress towards circularity.

  • 2019

    OVAM hosts two international conferences in Antwerp: ‘World Resources Forum (WRF) Closing Loops - Transitions at Work’ and ‘Aquaconsoil’. OVAM welcomes more than 1,000 participants from across the world. 


  • 2016

    OVAM receives ‘The Circulars’ award at the World Economic Forum in Davos. By launching Circular Flanders, OVAM aims to further broaden the scope of the circular economy. 

  • 2011

    A new Materials Decree replaces the Waste Decree after 30 years, signalling the transition to management that focuses on the sustainable use of materials and raw materials.

  • 2010

    Flanders puts sustainable materials management on the European political agenda during the Belgian presidency of the EU.

  • 2006

    A new legal framework comes into force for soil remediation and soil protection.

  • 2004

    OVAM stimulates the reuse of excavated soil originating from soil remediation projects by developing a regulation.

  • 1997

    Subsidies are introduced to encourage cooperation between municipalities and recycling centers.

  • 1995

    OVAM becomes one of the first organisations in the European Union to introduce regulation, the Soil Remediation Decree, which specifically targets the remediation of soils.

  • 1994

    Creation of Fost Plus, a voluntary private sector initiative that promotes, coordinates and finances the separate collection, sorting and recycling of household packaging waste in Belgium.

  • 1992

    VLACO, the Flemish organisation responsible for stimulating the sale of compost made from organic waste, is set up – later becoming responsible for independently certifying compost.

  • 1989

    OVAM launches its first major awareness-raising campaign, ‘Smart people sort their waste’.

  • 1987

    Environmental levies on the disposal of waste are introduced as the first Flemish tax.

  • 1986

    OVAM develops its first waste plan in which the foundations of Flemish waste policy are laid.

  • 1981

    The Waste Decree is approved, becoming a ‘birth certificate’ for OVAM, the very first Flemish government agency.