3 questions for the new chairman of Fost Plus


Jan Vander Stichele has fulfilled the role of chairman of the Fost Plus Board of Directors since 16 May 2022. He was selected in accordance with the Fost Plus articles of association from among the directors who represent the FEVIA sector federation on our Board of Directors. Jan Vander Stichele replaces Pascal Léglise, who had held this position since 16 November 2020.

Jan Vander Stichele has been a member of the Fost Plus Board of Directors since 13 May 2019. This is in addition to his responsibilities among other things as chairman of the Board of Directors at Lotus Bakeries.

After six months firmly at the helm, it is time for his first in-depth interview.


1. What is the biggest challenge facing Fost Plus today?

Few people realise the important social role played by Fost Plus. Both the government and the general public rarely stop to consider the convenience provided by the blue bag. Since the sorting message was expanded, a recycling solution has been available for almost all plastic packaging. We have Fost Plus to thank for that.

Fost Plus’ mission is to collect all household packaging for recycling. Step by step, we are moving closer to that goal. Not only because more different types of packaging are collected, but also because the quality of the materials is constantly improving. Since the introduction of the New Blue Bag, the proportion of residual waste due to sorting errors has fallen from 15% to less than 10%. This proves that the uniform, simple sorting message is being properly received. The task now will be to build further on this stable basis.


2. What has pleasantly surprised you?

Society is changing rapidly. As an organisation, you have to evolve with it, or you soon become superfluous. Fost Plus belongs to the first group. At first, it was mainly a question of collecting food and drinks packaging from homes efficiently. But nowadays, everyone is spending more and more time out of home, at work or on the go. And there, people treat packaging differently. The existing mechanisms have to be adjusted to those different realities. Fost Plus succeeds in doing this wonderfully well. The goal of doubling the proportion of PMD collected out of home between 2018 and 2023 is within reach, mainly because more and more PMD is being sorting from industrial residual waste.

But that does not mean that we can rest on our laurels. The greatest challenge facing us in the next few years is undoubtedly the fight against litter.


3. Where are the biggest opportunities for the circular packaging economy?

Every item of packaging fulfils a specific function: protecting the product, longer shelf-life, safe transport, etc. The aim is always to look for the right balance to combine all these functions. It’s a matter of choosing the right type of packaging for the product. Certain functions, such as guaranteeing food safety, will always take precedence.

Prevention is becoming increasingly important: packaging that is lighter, that requires less material or that is replaced by reusable alternatives. But that is not always possible. In those cases, as companies with packaging responsibility we have to focus firmly on recyclability.

Fost Plus also welcomes a new vice-chairman: Koen De Maesschalck, who is in charge of Corporate Affairs and Communication at Colruyt Group and, in accordance with the Fost Plus articles of association, was chosen as such from among the directors who represent the COMEOS sector federation on our Board of Directors.

Finally, we would like to thank Pascal Léglise and Ann Nachtergaele for their enthusiasm and commitment over the past few years, respectively as chair and vice-chair of the Fost Plus Board of Directors.