The Green Dot on packaging is a well-known and widespread logo. But do people actually know what it means? And no, the Green Dot does not mean that the packaging has been made from recycled materials or that it can automatically be thrown in the blue bag...
Yet this small logo represents the cornerstone of the circular economy in Belgium. Every company that sells packaged products on the Belgian market is responsible for the life cycle of this packaging, including its recycling: this is the ‘Extended Producer Responsibility’ principle (EPR) as defined at European level. Companies can assume this responsibility individually or they can join a collective system by becoming a member of Fost Plus. In fact, this is why trade and industry founded Fost Plus, over 25 years ago now. The Green Dot logo indicates that the company that markets the packaged product is a member of Fost Plus and thus contributes to the selective collection, sorting and recycling of its packaging.
Companies fund the cost of recycling household packaging waste.
They pay an amount for each item of packaging put on the market, in line with the Green Dot rate per material. These rates take account of the collection, sorting and recycling costs, and other costs. The calculation also includes any revenue that may be generated by the recycled materials, as well as other factors. This way, the Green Dot reflects the deficit in the circular chain.
In addition, the ecomodulation principle applies: the more difficult the packaging is to recycle, the higher the amount will be. This is to encourage companies to put on the market packaging that is easy to recycle, compatible with the current collection, sorting and recycling systems.
This transparent system is unique in Europe and enables us to close the loop of the circular economy.