The last sorting centre opens its doors


In 2019, Fost Plus chose five partners to build the sorting centres for the New Blue Bag. On 26 May, Sitel, the fifth and last PMD sorting centre was inaugurated in Engis (Huy), in the province of Liège. The new infrastructure has the capacity to sort 40,000 tonnes of PMD household packaging every year.

Over an area of 3.6 hectares, Sitel processes 30,000 blue bags per day from the 72 communes covered by Intradel, as well as those (in part) of Limburg and Luxembourg covered by and Idelux. A first Sitel centre had opened in 1999 in Seraing, but in order to be able to sort the new materials being accepted in the blue bag, the centre was completely rebuilt at the current site of Engis, under the name Sitel 2.

Since the sorting has been expanded and the New Blue Bag rolled out throughout Belgium as of 1 October, more household packaging is accepted and can be sorted with PMD. The New Blue Bag now also accepts plastic tubs and containers, bags and pots, making it possible to collect about 8 kg of additional PMD per resident per year. The sorting centres therefore have to accept 90,000 additional tonnes of PMD per year, and it became clear that the sorting capacity had to be increased, new technologies introduced and used in order to properly sort the new types of materials. Sitel will make it possible to sort the contents of the New Blue Bag into 16 fractions, with future opportunities for other potential fractions, and to bring high quality materials to the recycling market which will be recycled into highly sought secondary raw materials.

Sitel is the result of a public-private partnership between Fost Plus, Intradel, Idelux and the Noshaq investment fund. The plant needed an investment of more than €40 million. Sitel employs 46 workers and will sort nearly 150 tonnes of household waste per day. With a view to environmental sustainability, the Sitel facility is equipped with solar panels covering 15% of its electricity needs. It also recovers rainwater for use in the extinguishing system and toilets, and the heat from the compressors is also put to good use.

The next step is to open the last two Belgian recycling centres. Three are already operational, and the last two will also come on board by 2024. These five new recycling centers will allow us to recycle more in Belgium, especially than plastic packaging materials.