Where there used to be pastures on the canal from Ghent to Terneuzen, we have developed one of the most sustainable recycling sites.

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Waste recycling is fully based on the circular economy, the increasing concern for the environment and the growing demand for reusable raw materials. In Terneuzen we have developed a recycling site on an agricultural plot for the Beelen companies. Here we mainly collect and recycle bottom ash. Bottom ash is the residue from the incineration of waste at a waste-to-energy plant. These bottom ashes are processed into a building material that can be used as a primary building material (e.g. for concrete). Because of its location on the water, the Beelen companies can take full advantage of transport by water.



In 2012, we purchased an agriculturally zoned property that included a landfill and was also in use as a motocross track and 4 x 4 course.

After going through the various procedures, it succeeded in having the zoning plan changed and obtaining the necessary permits so that recycling to secondary raw materials on the Axel plain became possible.

The landfill has been rearranged and capped. The bottom ash was used and processed into building material on site. In order to minimize emissions and other adverse environmental effects, the site was designed in accordance with the most effective methods that were technically and economically feasible. This included investing in a liquid-proof floor for the entire site. In addition, new sewerage and water purification systems were installed so that rainwater and process water can be reused on site. Retaining walls were also constructed, so that the floor area can be used as efficiently as possible and to prevent the spread of dust. A lane for truck traffic has been constructed on site in order to minimize traffic nuisance for adjacent sites. To take full advantage of the waterfront location, a longitudinal harbor (mooring facility) has been constructed of approximately 350m.

"This spacious plot with a good waterfront location, gives the Beelen companies the opportunity to really move towards 100% reuse of waste materials. 6.4 million tons of mineral residues can be processed here annually."
Arnold Sijtsma

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In order to optimize access via the water, a longitudinal harbor has been constructed. This makes it possible for several ships to dock at the same time, without hindering through transport.


The Axel plain lies on the Ghent to Terneuzen Canal, a main waterway for shipping.


Residual streams must be processed as efficiently as possible. Bottom ash is a residual product from incineration. This ash still contains many valuable substances that can be used: metals and minerals. Before bottom ash can be processed, it must first be stored for two months. This requires a lot of storage space and that is available at this location.


The bottom ashes from all incinerators of the Beelen companies are transported to this location by barge. This is the most efficient method of transport (1 barge equals 120 trucks). A large part of the bottom ash is marketed as a freely applicable building material. In addition, the metals in bottom ash are recovered and find their way into metal recycling. Recycling bottom ash fits well into the transition to the circular economy.


The Beelen companies are major sustainable contractors in the demolition sector and also have a solid reputation in integrated waste management and recycling. Each year they demolish more than 350 buildings and 99.45% of their (demolition) waste is recycled.

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