Discover the white paper about our role as a driving force in the circular economy


From a linear to a circular economy

The facts were clear years ago: we’re using up our natural resources one and a half times faster than we can replace them, posing unstainable pressure on our environment and a threat to industry.

Society thus wants to put an end to the domination of the linear 'take, make, discard' model that has shaped economic thinking for so long. We are investing in a new model that strives to protect and maintain the value of all resources: the circular economy. This model has been designed to keep as many raw materials in the production chain as possible. In addition, a circular economy decouples economic growth from the consumption of limited natural resources. The reduction, reuse and recycling of materials are key terms in this respect. These are powerful concepts both for society in general, as well as for Fost Plus and its members.

The mission has evolved

Although Fost Plus was originally established by packaging companies to comply with statutory obligations, its mission has evolved over time to become the driving force behind this circular economy for household packaging in Belgium. We started this process 27 years ago. Four essential steps were needed to take us to where we are today: a recycling hub at the heart of Europe.

The four steps are:

  • The (re)valuation of plastics

Plastics are a highly valuable raw material. Just like glass, paper or metal, plastic can be sustainably recycled. This recycling is not just an absolute necessity from an environmental perspective, it is also a source of great economic added value. However, it is of utmost importance that plastic packaging is collected, sorted and recycled in the right way to limit its impact on the environment.

  • Citizens’ sorting habits

The recycling chain of household packaging starts and ends with how consumers approach recycling. Uniform and simple sorting rules, as well as a unified collection system, are the keys to success.

  • Embracing technological progress 

Thanks to the expansion of the sorting rules via the New Blue Bag, we are collecting an additional 90,000 tonnes for recycling each year. Five new high-tech sorting centres ensure that the contents of the New Blue Bag are sorted into homogeneous, high-quality material streams that meet the needs of the international recycling market.

  • Investing in local recycling capacity for the long term

Expanding the recycling capacity in Belgium is the final link in creating a local and circular economy for household packaging. This goes hand in hand with major investments and a long-term commitment on the part of industry and trade, and translates into the awarding of contracts for five new recycling centres in Belgium.

Meeting ambitious recycling targets

The Belgian and European governments see the circular economy as leverage for a cleaner and more competitive economy. The recycling of materials to create new secondary raw materials is crucial in achieving climate targets and stimulating the local economy. The recycling targets for packaging (including those for plastic), in which Belgium is even more ambitious than Europe, therefore offer an opportunity.

Fost Plus has taken up the challenge. Implementing the Extended Producer Responsibility for household packaging has created a system that guarantees the best recycling results at the lowest cost for the consumer. Herein lies the success of the Belgian recycling chain, and we at the same time see leverage for scaling up.

Discover the white paper ‘Belgium as a European recycling hub – four steps towards a circular economy for household packaging' (in French and in Dutch).