Fost Plus is well on the way to achieving the ambitious objectives laid down in its accreditation. But there is still a lot of work to do. Out-of-home collection and sorting are high on the agenda in 2021, in response to the resumption of a lot of activities after the coronavirus crisis. In addition, the many investments in new sorting and recycling infrastructure put Belgium in pole position to become a European recycling hub.
On the way to achieving ambitions
Fost Plus is about halfway through its current accreditation period (2019-2023). This accreditation is characterised by a series of ambitious recycling objectives, mainly involving plastic packaging. The ultimate aim is to create a circular packaging economy for Belgium that goes hand in hand with local processing and sustainable job creation.
PET- recycling centre Sources Alma – Suez at Charleroi
In the past two years, we have laid the foundations for this ambition. Now we are reaping the first rewards. At the end of 2021, all Belgians in 36 intermunicipal authorities will be using the extensive plastic collection, providing an additional 90,000 tonnes of packaging for the recycling market. At that time, four (of the five) new high-tech sorting centres will be running at full capacity to sort all this new PMD packaging. The local recycling capacity is coming on stream, too. We have already announced the construction of three new Belgian recycling plants, and negotiations for further expansion are now under way for at least another two recycling centres.
It is becoming increasingly clear that a circular economy for household packaging is definitely a sustainable and feasible model. Moreover, for the development of this model, we can count on the long-term commitment and financial support of our members. The government is playing an important role here, as well, by creating a stable legal framework that offers investors the necessary security. This way we can let a highly promising sector develop into a sustainable, future-resistant economic activity.
Belgium as European recycling hub
With the Circular Economy Action Plan – one of the cornerstones of the Green Deal – the European Commission is showing the way to a circular future for Europe. The reuse and recycling of materials is an essential element to achieve a climate-neutral economy by 2050. The ambitious plans create a great need for new infrastructure, technology and know-how to achieve the objectives. Thanks to its central location and the expertise available here, Belgium has all it takes to become a central recycling hub, not only for the recycling of our own packaging, but also that of our neighbouring countries.
Is there life after coronavirus?
At the moment – early in 2021 – the coronavirus crisis is far from over. Nevertheless, the prospect of a return to our normal lives is gradually emerging. This is the signal for Fost Plus to reinvigorate our ambitions for out-of-home sorting. So we are anticipating the return to the workplace with a large-scale campaign to convince companies to sort more and better. The EUR 75 welcome grant, requested by over 1,247 companies in 2019, is being extended. In addition, in April 2021 the PMD sorting rules for companies are extended to include those of the New Blue Bag, so that much more packaging can be collected.
As towns, cities and communes are preparing to welcome many more visitors again, on-the-go consumption is a major focal point in 2021. The Click pilot project in De Haan is being rolled out in other towns, cities and communes. As soon as supporters are allowed back in the stadium, the successful sorting project at the Standard de Liège stadium will also be continued and extended to five other big clubs. Finally, a series of new staycation initiatives are planned.
Sorting message on the LED screens of Standard de Liège