EMAS Day is an annual celebration dedicated to the European Commisson’s Eco-Management and Audit Scheme, serving as a platform to discuss on environmental management, sustainability, and best practices. With a particular emphasis on EMAS' contributions to these goals, the event highlights the crucial role the voluntary environmental management system plays in enhancing organizations' environmental performance.
Traditionally organized in rotation by the three Belgian regions, EMAS Day had been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in previous years. However, in 2022, under the guidance of the Brussels-Capital Region, EMAS Day regained its shine with an event held at the iconic Tour et Taxis site, where the theme centered on "EMAS and the Climate." The occasion also included a visit to the EMAS-certified AUDI factory in Forest.
In 2023, the stage was set in Wallonia, and the day's overarching focus was to explore the role of EMAS in managing wastewater and household waste. Moreover, it took a citizen-centric approach, shedding light on how the EMAS framework can influence infrastructure in wastewater treatment (such as sewage treatment plants) and waste management, particularly in composting facilities.
The event unfolded in the state-of-the-art facilities of the Liège-Oupeye Wastewater Treatment Plant, a property of the Liège intermunicipal company, AIDE. Wallonia mandates the implementation of environmental management systems in specific industries as a condition for obtaining sector-specific environmental permits. Therefore, there is a widespread presence of EMAS registrations in public facilities engaged in wastewater treatment and the management of household waste. All eight intermunicipal companies responsible for household waste management in Wallonia are EMAS registered.
The participants at EMAS Day primarily represented the EMAS network in Belgium, including regional correspondents, as well as representatives from both public and private entities. Notably, this edition welcomed a substantial number of delegates from intermunicipal companies specializing in wastewater treatment and waste management.
- The Future of Wastewater Treatment: Olivier Bastin, a Bioengineer from Almadius Engineering, presented insights from a study focusing on the future of wastewater treatment, considering climate constraints and resource scarcity.
- Household Waste Management: Virginie Dieu from Intradel, the intermunicipal company, discussed the activities, perspectives, and the pivotal role that EMAS can play in the household waste sector.
- AIDE's Contribution to Wastewater Treatment: Delphine Eloy and Franck Bodson from AIDE provided a comprehensive overview of AIDE's activities and the wastewater treatment plant that hosted the event.
Then participants embarked on a guided tour of the Liège-Oupeye Wastewater Treatment Plant, designed to process wastewater discharge from nearly 465,000 equivalent inhabitants. The guide enthusiastically unveiled the various, at times sophisticated, technologies used in wastewater treatment.
The next destination on the agenda was the EMAS registered Grâce Hollogne Biocentre, managed by Intradel, an intermunicipal association offering comprehensive waste management services to its constituent municipalities. Here, attendees had the opportunity to gain firsthand insights into one of their green waste treatment centers. This facility provides a convenient platform for municipalities, individuals, and farmers to deposit green waste and agricultural plastics, while also offering access to top-quality compost.
The visit’s final leg took attendees to the Resource Garden, an interactive and educational garden and integral part of the Grâce-Hollogne Biocentre. Sponsored by Intradel, the Resource Garden is a hub for various awareness activities, covering everything from green waste prevention and management to the dissemination of tips for achieving zero waste and implementing best practices in gardening, all the while fostering biodiversity. This garden serves as a living testament to the principles of the circular economy, aiming to become a model for eco-design and the practice of upcycling within the gardening domain.
In the aftermath of the event, unanimous feedback emphasized the value of EMAS Day, highlighting the informative presentations and the high-quality field visits.
Looking forward, the 2024 edition of EMAS Day is set to be organized by the Flanders region, promising yet another enlightening and impactful gathering celebrating environmental excellence and sustainability.
- Publication date
- 30 October 2023
- Directorate-General for Environment