Average Belgian consumes 14 tonnes of raw materials per year, says Eurostat

The average Belgian consumes large amounts of raw materials to support their daily life. According to the EU statistical office, Eurostat, the average domestic material consumption of Belgians accounted for over 13 tonnes per person.

The data shows that last year, each Belgian indirectly consumed around five tonnes of biomass products, one tonne of metal ores, and five tonnes of non-metallic minerals.

The data also shows Belgium’s large fossil fuel footprint: on average, one Belgian accounts for under 4 tonnes of fossil fuels. This means that, per capita, Belgium has the eighth-highest fossil fuel consumption in the EU.

The consumption of fossil energy has been falling steadily over the last decade but there was a slight uptick in 2020-2021.

“Fossil fuels used for energy gradually decreased over the past two decades, which is mirrored by reduced CO2 emissions. However, 2021 saw a small increase from the significant drop recorded in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic,” the statisticians say.

In 2021, EU citizens consumed an average of 14.1 tonnes of raw materials per person, up 4% on 2020. The average per capita consumption of metal ores across the EU has accelerated sharply this year, growing by around 15%.

“Since the start of the millennium, domestic material consumption has decreased from more than 15.4 tonnes per person to around 14.1 tonnes per person in 2021,” Eurostat noted.

However, domestic material consumption varies massively across Member States. It is influenced by factors such as the availability of natural resources and the role of resource extraction in the economy.

In Finland, for example, each citizen accounts for some 35 tonnes of raw materials, due to their large timber industry. In terms of fossil fuel energy material, the average Luxembourger accounts for some 8 tonnes per person.



© BELGA PHOTO (BENOIT DOPPAGNE) "Carrieres du Hainaut" quarries, where the 'Belgian Fossil' (Belgian Blue Stone - Arduinsteen) is extracted


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