Leuven Info

Recycling and Separation

Step 1: know what the “fractions” are. Best separation info I have seen is the photo below:

This handy info is in the Living in Leuven from A to Z handbook under ‘W’ for waste. KU Leuven distributes the handbook at orientation. I wish there were a better photo of this somewhere. Maybe a poster? Anybody?

Step 2: get yourself some bags based on what you think you need. Maybe coordinate with neighbors as the bags are quite large for one person. Where to buy the recycling bags? I bought mine at Carrefour. Various places sell them. Ask at the checkout.

Step 3: the Recycle! app (icon below) can tell you when trash will be picked up at your address. Once you put your address in the app (ask your neighbors or landlord exactly what to enter) it tells you what will be collected what days and can remind you.

The app can also tell you where to take items in fractions that are not one of the main categories.

Note: I heard from multiple sources that in March 2021 the pink bags are going away and the items in that fraction will be joined with the blue bags – so don’t buy a lifetime supply of pink bags now.

The app cannot help you know what to separate. The grainy picture above is better than the app for that.


  • Delhaize is good. It is the only grocery store I have been to so far. Delhaize also has a delivery option that works great.
  • Grote Markt has farmer’s food markets on Saturday. It may be everyday, but I know I saw them Saturday. I believe they are the best price.
  • ALDI has better prices than Delhaize I hear but I haven’t had a chance to compare yet.
  • There are little markets everywhere.
  • You can have restaurant food delivered with Deliveroo. Easy to use, but gets expensive fast.

Miscellaneous Shopping

  • HEMA is not the “saver” option but has many things: bed sheets, kitchen items, utensils, pots and pans, many things.
  • Carrefour is where I bought my city trash bags.
  • Action, I have not been to yet, but I think has more items like HEMA.
  • Handy Home Merckx is a big hardware store. I bought a coffee thermos and power adapter there.
  • SPIT is second-hand items so if you get lucky there and find what you want you save money. If you have extra, you can donate here.
  • Diestsestraat from the Leuven city center to the ring road, if you have a shopping list and walk that street you are sure to find many things you need. Also, the Stadskantoor (CIty Hall) is very visible at end of Diestsestraat and you will need the Stadskantoor. The train station is by the Stadskantoor as well.
  • Also Bondgenotenlaaan, which is one street over from Diestsestraat, has shopping.

Cell phone SIM card

If you need a Belgian SIM, Orange works great for €15 per month for 4Gb plus texts and 50 minutes prepaid. The data is valid for a month, so the result is usually €15 / month unless you want more minutes. If you do not need the data, the minutes and texts are valid I think 3 months so even cheaper that way.

Fun Dutch language material, click here.