Starting in September with the start of the school year, Namur will become the first Walloon city to offer its citizens a participatory, fun project that combines public cleanliness and recycling. The ‘Click’ operation, a Fost Plus initiative undertaken in collaboration with the City of Namur, primarily targets the people of Namur concerned for their living environment. It aims to improve cleanliness by rewarding people who take action in their environment while increasing the volume of packaging in public places that is recycled.
The project was initially launched in De Haan, on the Belgian coast, in 2020, and more recently this summer in Antwerp. Namur will be the first Walloon city to join the initiative, supported for the occasion by a celebrity from the city: Belgian television and radio presenter Fanny Gillard.
The project is based on the use of a smartphone app designed to encourage everyone, in a fun way, to adopt the right approach, that is to throw their out-of-home waste in the (correct) bin. In practical terms, all they have to do is photograph and scan the packaging before throwing it in the appropriate bin.
The Click is limited to the city centre area, Jambes, the Corbeille district and the towpaths. In exchange for empty packaging or litter picked up and thrown in a public bin, the user receives a virtual coin that can then be spent in participating local businesses or exchanged for access to various sports or cultural services provided by the City of Namur.
For the system to work properly, the waste collection system had to be adapted. On the one hand, dual sorting islands have been provided for PMD and residual waste, like those found in railway stations, for example. And on the other hand, bins in strategic places in the city centre have been decorated in ‘Click’ colours.
The waste put in these bins will be collected and then pre-sorted so as to recover as much packaging for recycling as possible. This sorting system is part of the Fost Plus strategy, which aims to double the quantity of PMD collected outside the home by 2023.
It is worth noting that teams of ‘Click’ stewards will be present at various events and festivities in Namur to encourage everyone to ‘Click’. By making the experience accessible, modern and fun, the Click will become a habit and enable members of the public to have a positive, practical impact on their environment.
Charlotte Deborsu, councillor in charge of Public Cleanliness, explains: “The project meets our expectations in terms of our public cleanliness goals. The City of Namur is committed to the fight against litter and to ensuring that its streets and public places are kept clean. We would definitely like to see a change in mindset regarding the management of packaging waste and we encourage everyone to download the Click app. The Click is a step towards a cleaner city, particularly in more problematic areas, such as around schools, for example. On top of that, the Click helps boost local trade.”
Mayor Maxime Prévot stresses the advantages of the project: “We have a duty to encourage this type of initiative and to reward the right behaviour. Our residents will move around and live in a cleaner city and at the same time support local trade. It’s a win-win operation for everyone!”
Fost Plus managing director Patrick Laevers is delighted to see the project evolve: “By adopting the ‘Click’, people are backing up the initiatives we have put in place to collect and recycle packaging waste. With time, we are moving ever closer to our aim of ensuring that all packaging can be recycled. And the right habits start when children are young, thanks to a simple, effective app!”
Ultimately, the project achieves two clear goals. It aims to bring about a change in mindset by encouraging people to throw their own waste in the appropriate bin and to pick up litter. In addition, it strengthens the waste collection infrastructure and logistics measures. The support of local SMEs - over 70 of them have already come forward so far - is crucial here and the commitment to accept the Circular UCoins is proof of this.