Innovation and digitalisation
Innovation and digitalisation are the cornerstones of the circular economy. Fost Plus therefore invests heavily in new technologies and systems. This is intended to ensure that all partners in the ecosystem can work together as well as possible and gear their activities to one another.
“Our basic systems generate huge quantities of data on all aspects of the recycling chain.”
Chief Financial Officer
MyFost – the Fost Plus declaration 2.0
Every company that puts packaging on the Belgian market makes a financial contribution to the collection, sorting and recycling of their packaging. Every year, they submit a declaration to Fost Plus for this purpose. They indicate not only the quantity of packaging that they used during the past year, but also the materials it consisted of. This enables us to calculate an accurate contribution for each company, reflecting the actual processing costs.
Since the start of 2022, our members have been using a brand-new declaration system for this: MyFost. The system integrates the new reality of the New Blue Bag where far more packaging is selectively collected and recycled than was previously the case. This results in more diversified rates for these packaging types. Lower rates apply to materials that can be recycled more easily. In addition, the system offers the necessary flexibility to evolve in line with the rapidly changing packaging world. For instance, our members have recently started declaring Household Hazardous Waste via MyFost as well.
Finally, MyFost contains all the bells and whistles to be expected of a modern app. Users can log in via itsme, invoices are sent electronically and a great deal of online support is available to help them fill in declarations. Account has also been taken of the wide variety of our members, including very big and very small companies from markedly different sectors. MyFost contains features for every type of company that make life easier and help them submit their declaration correctly.
Data for optimal cooperation
Fost Plus is the driving force behind an extensive and varied ecosystem where different partners work closely together: intermunicipal companies and local authorities, producers and distributors, operators, sorting and recycling centres, etc. Optimal data exchange is crucial to gear all the activities in the recycling chain to one another as well as possible.
Our basic systems generate huge quantities of data on all aspects of the recycling chain. What packaging is put on the market and what materials does it consist of? How much PMD do we collect from members of the public and how are the figures evolving over time? What is the quality of the materials collected and which packaging causes problems in sorting and recycling centres?
Thanks to Business Intelligence, we can use these data to take the right decisions and ensure that our partners can work together better. For instance, analyses of collection data help us to optimise the entire chain, from the organisation of the collection rounds to the forecasting for sorting centres and recycling plants. Insight into new packaging trends enables us to respond faster to new developments and adjust our policy where necessary.
PROJECT IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Artificial intelligence in sorting centres
Our new sorting centres rank among the most advanced in Europe. But technology does not stand still, so we are constantly on the lookout for innovation. In 2021, for example, we looked into how we can use artificial intelligence to automate the quality control of the sorted materials.
In the Indaver sorting centre in Willebroek we installed a self-learning camera system at the end of the process that can recognise certain packaging on the basis of photographs. In the pilot project we examined whether the system could be used to distinguish between transparent and non-transparent PET packaging.