PMD sorting at work – the five most common errors


Sorting at the workplace is gradually developing into a good habit in many companies. And that can only be a good thing. Because every item of packaging that we sort no longer ends up lost in the residual waste. In practice, however, we see that here and there the quality still leaves something to be desired. What can you watch out for to do even better?


Sorting is easier than ever...

Since the introduction of the New Blue Bag, sorting waste has become a lot easier. You can now put almost all plastic household packaging with the PMD. As of 1 April 2021, the new, extended sorting rules have applied for the PMD that we sort at the workplace, as well. This means that at work, too, you can put your empty yoghurt pots, plastic cups and plastic trays that held ready meals with the PMD waste. That is not only handy – the same sorting rules everywhere – but it also avoids piles of residual waste at companies.


But it does go wrong…

Nonetheless, during our inspections in the sorting centres we still find a lot of materials, packaging and objects that do not belong in the PMD. Just as at home, the blue bag is intended for household packaging. And that's where the snag lies. After all, at the workplace we use a lot of other packaging. It may look like the packaging that you sort at home, but it often has a great impact on the sorting processes and the people who work in the sorting centres. Here are the most common errors.


1. Empty your packaging

We notice that packaging collected at the workplace still contains a lot of left-over products – far more than that which we collect from families. Examples include half-empty drinks bottles and cans, half-eaten yoghurt pots and leftover food. This in itself is not illogical. At home you usually sort your packaging in the kitchen, often near a disposal unit or a residual waste bin. At the workplace, that is not always the case. But it is important to empty packaging completely before sorting. The collectors and sorters will be grateful!

TIP – You don’t need to rinse it with water, of course. Just emptying your packaging is sufficient.

A good rule of thumb: only put packaging in the blue bag that you would put with the PMD at home, too.

2. No electrical appliances or batteries!

Electrical and electronic appliances do not, of course, belong in the PMD bag. And yet we still often find such things in the PMD from companies. Not only do they disrupt the sorting process, but they are also a real danger for the sorting centres and the people who work there. Batteries can even lead to a risk of fire or explosion in the sorting centres. So they should be avoided at all costs!
TIP – You can dispose of electrical and electronic appliances with Recupel and batteries with Bebat. For more information, go to www.recupel.be and www.bebat.be.

3. Use the correct – transparent – bags

Collecting PMD in grey or black opaque base is not a good idea, for various reasons. For one thing, you cannot see the contents, which often causes confusion: residual waste bags end up in the PMD flow and vice versa. So only use the blue PMD bags. They are transparent, which makes it easier for the cleaning team or the waste collector to check the contents. In addition, the sorting machines are set up to tear open the bags at the start of the process. And – a point that is not unimportant – the bags themselves are also recycled via a separate flow.
TIP – Order the official blue bags bearing the words ‘PMD Companies’ from your waste partner.

4. Avoid large packaging

The packaging units used in companies are often larger than those you have at home. Examples include bulk packaging in the hospitality sector, large containers, baskets and buckets, or pallet films. Even though they usually consist of the same materials as household packaging, they are not suitable for PMD. Not only do the bags fill up too quickly, but they also tear more easily. In addition, our sorting lines are not at all geared to such large sizes. Packaging like this belongs with the industrial waste.
TIP – Valipac offers a specific solution for the collection and recycling of large plastic films. For more information, go to www.valipac.be.

5. Packaging only in PMD!

The blue PMD bag is intended only for household packaging. Other objects – such as plastic tubes and panels, wood, polystyrene or production leftovers – do not belong here. The materials, the volumes and the sizes are quite simply not suitable for the PMD collection and the processes in our sorting centres. Other channels are almost always available for all these waste flows.
TIP – Your waste partner undoubtedly offers you a far better solution for your industrial waste.