In-company sorting inspection and enforcement


The most recent results from the sorting analysis of residual waste in Flemish companies show that a lot of recyclable materials still end up in the residual waste, including PMD. Correct sorting at the source can ensure that extra materials are selectively collected and that these materials can then be recycled as much as possible. Fost Plus and the OVAM, the Public Waste Agency of Flanders, therefore released resources from the ‘Halve Euro’ work plan to assign another two people to sorting inspections and enforcement in companies. Since the end of 2021, they have carried out over 700 inspections, noting a sorting error in 60% of cases. 

Flanders has ambitious goals as regards selective collection and recycling. That calls for everyone to make an effort at home, but also in every company in Flanders. At home, we are real sorting champions, but in our companies we don’t so well. So extra attention and enforcement are needed.

Sorting obligation 

Flemish companies have to supply 24 waste fractions selectively. These include kitchen waste and left-over food (organic waste), wood, paper-cardboard or PMD, for example. In 47% of the companies inspected by the enforcement agents, PMD was found in the residual waste. And yet we are all quite used to sorting PMD at home. What’s more, since the expansion and standardisation of the sorting message, it is even simpler: almost all plastic packaging can be put with the PMD – both at home and at work. 

We see that sorting is more troublesome in open locations with a lot of people going back and forth. In places like this, people usually just want to get rid of their empty packaging as quickly as possible. So it is not surprising that the challenge is greatest in areas where visitors, drivers and employees all come and go. Fost Plus has a wide range of services, information and assistance to put companies and other out-of-home locations on the right path as regards sorting PMD. By means of an enforcement learning process, we are building up knowledge and experience about what does and doesn’t work in companies and how we can provide them with even better support.

Fine may run into thousands of euros

For companies where awareness and support do not lead to the required result, enforcement is important so as to remind these companies to take measures and, if necessary, to book and fine them. The enforcement agents distinguish between serious and minor sorting errors. In 58% of cases involving sorting errors, a reminder is sent. This may or may not be accompanied by an official report.

The visit from the enforcement agent and additional information about the sorting obligation is often enough for companies to adapt their behaviour. In chains or companies with multiple sites in particular, a positive effect can clearly be seen, with one visit from one enforcement agent to one site having an effect at all locations. With serious cases (major or persistent sorting errors), the fine in Flanders can amount to several thousand euros.


Key figures

  • 2 enforcement agents
  • Over 700 inspections in Flanders between 08.11.2021 and 08.11.2022
  • Sorting errors noted in 60% of inspections
  • 58% of cases involving sorting errors result in an official report and/or a reminder