Fost Plus tests the transport of PMD over water


A first test of alternative transport of PMD bags by river represents a transversal collaboration promoting a circular economy 

Fost Plus and four partners in the recycling chain for Belgian household packaging tested an alternative to road transport of PMD bags from the province of Limburg to the Indaver sorting plant in Willebroek by river. This is an innovation project, the goal of which is to find sustainable solutions for a more effective and greener management of the recycling chain. 

At present, no fewer than 9 trucks from transport PMD bags each week to the Indaver sorting centre in Willebroek. In due course, 25 kT of PE film per year will be returned to the Ecoo Beringen recycling centre. This pilot project sought to evaluate the competitiveness of waterways as compared to road transport, by determining the volume of PMD that can be transported and the time needed for the water route, including loading and unloading. A single journey by water would potentially make it possible to avoid 21 truck journeys. “It has already emerged that each journey by water would make it possible to cut 900 kg of CO2 as compared to road transport, a significant reduction of the carbon footprint by 70%. And that is, of course, before taking into account the benefit in terms of impact on the fluidity of transport”, notes Yann Wetz, an expert at Fost Plus. 

Luc Wouters, chairman of, the intermunicipal company responsible for collecting household waste for Limburg and Diest, emphasizes: “We wish to create the most sustainable route possible for collecting and treating household waste, and that is why we are entering into this pilot project. Currently, we are focusing on the blue bags, household packaging, but over time the idea is to include residual waste as well, that is sent to the IOK waste treatment plant in Geel.“ 

For Philip Peeters, managing director of Bionerga: “Transport is an important part of the entire process of waste handling; today, we are going farther and transporting PMD to sorting centres by boat.” 

Multimodal transport shows its efficacy only if the right partners are involved together, stresses Filip Dupré, an expert at Multimodaal Vlaanderen, a body of the VIL (innovation platform for logistics) that informs and guides companies in their search for effective and sustainable transport solutions. “For this pilot project to transport PMD by water, an operational and budgetary plan were drawn up.” 

Silvia Colazzo, head of communication at Indaver, mentions that “both Indaver and its clients are trying to reduce their environmental footprint. Inland navigation is already being used for residual waste, and so it is interesting to examine the possibility of supplementing the offer of transport of PMD by water.” 

This innovation project is still in a test phase, and various parameters have yet to be optimized. But navigation offers promising advantages over road transport that promote the circular economy and respond to the objectives set by Fost Plus. 

Discover the video