De Haan and Fost Plus are relaunching the city cleaning project the Click in the coastal commune. At the same time, the environmental service of Middelkerke confirms its wish to introduce the Click in the seaside town. This extension along the coast – which hopefully will eventually encompass its entire length – is part of the broader approach to litter adopted by the Flemish government through Minister Demir’s charter. With De Haan in a pioneering role, Fost Plus continues to focus on packaging recycling and the fight against litter, among other things by dealing with the logistics of collection and sorting.
In 2020, at the initiative of mayor Wilfried Vandaele De Haan was the first commune to join the innovative project aimed at increasing the collection of packaging waste out of home and tackling litter. The Click encourages residents and visitors to throw their waste in the appropriate bins – just as they do at home. An incentive to do so is provided by ‘Circular UCoins’, a digital currency that can be used to make purchases at local businesses. You save them by scanning every item of packaging that you throw away using your smartphone. This can now be done using a more user-friendly app.
Marleen De Soete, municipal councillor in charge of waste management and the local economy: “De Haan has always aimed to be the country’s cleanest seaside town. So it is only logical that in our pioneering role, we are encouraging the other coastal communes to make the Click, as well. Only together can we ban litter from the streets.”
Patrick Laevers, Managing Director of Fost Plus: “When packaging ends up in the litter, the materials cannot be recycled and they are lost to the circular economy. The Click is the missing link in the fight against litter, because it builds on the strengths of the existing system – such as the efficient door-to-door collection via the New Blue Bag. The first pilot projects undertaken last year allowed us to test and further improve the mechanism and the technology, so that a further rollout is now possible. The Flemish government is supporting us through Minister Demir’s litter charter.”
Pre-sorting for maximum recycling
On the one hand, the Click aims to bring about a change in mindset among residents and visitors, encouraging them to dispose of their own waste correctly and also to clean up litter. We do that by rewarding them for the behaviour we want to see with Circular UCoins. On the other hand, the Click is committed to strengthening the infrastructure and logistics of waste collection. In addition to the (extra) double rubbish stations for PMD and residual waste that were installed, existing waste bins in strategic spots in streets and on squares were given a new, striking look. Waste that is collected there without sorting is pre-sorted in specialised sorting centres to recover a maximum amount of packaging from the residual waste for recycling. Sorted packaging then goes through the usual process for recycling, together with the PMD collected door to door via the New Blue Bag. Both processes are part of Fost Plus’ strategy aimed at doubling the amount of PMD collected out of home by 2023.
Patrick Laevers, Managing Director of Fost Plus: “Pre-sorting processes require an additional investment of around EUR 180 per tonne. That is a clear commitment on the part of industry and trade to collect all packaging for recycling.”