The year 2022 is gradually drawing to a close. It has been full of unexpected twists and challenges, but great opportunities, too. In this article, we would like to look at some of the high points of the year. But above all, we want to thank all our members, partners and staff for this year spent together. Constant collaboration ensures that we succeed in achieving ever more ambitious goals, day after day. We are confident that, together, we will be able to accomplish great things in 2023!
The New Blue Bag, speeding up the circular economy
2022 was the first full year when everyone in Belgium had access to the extended collection of plastics via the New Blue Bag. As a result, we witnessed the construction and opening of several new sorting centres and new recycling plants in Belgium this year. The Val’Up sorting centre in the Mons region, the fourth in the series, came into operation. The last one, in Engis (Liège), is to follow in early 2023. Along with the other three, they will sort around 260,000 tonnes of PMD a year.
More and more recycling plants are being built, as well. We have announced the awarding of the contract for a recycling plant focusing on tubs and complex packaging in PET, to be located in Neufchâteau. Construction began on FILAO, the bottle-to-bottle recycling plant in Charleroi, which is scheduled to open in 2023. With the laying of the first brick in its new chemical recycling facility for post-consumption and post-industrial packaging in polystyrene and polyolefin, Indaver is opening up the way for new flows.
A targeted approach for out-of-home packaging
However, packaging is not thrown away just at home. Thanks to a wide range of tools and support measures, we are also succeeding in further increasing the share of packaging collected out of home. So we are on track to achieve the 2022 goal of 24,000 tonnes of PMD collected out of home.
With this goal in mind, we have again launched a major campaign to encourage in-company sorting. Thanks to the collaboration with Facilicom Group, we are helping to train staff in cleaning companies to sort waste. This means that cleaning staff, on the front line when it comes to waste, know how best to act.
Innovation at the heart of our working methods
One of our watchwords in 2022 was ‘innovation’! For example, we invested in artificial intelligence in sorting centres to help check the quality of materials. A side project will use artificial intelligence to help consumers sort better.
The pre-sorting project introduced in Charleroi, for example, is another example of innovation. This project aims to separate residual waste from PMD using high-tech tools.
Finally, with a view to reducing emissions for PMD transport, we tested an alternative: waterway transport. The added value of this system is that it saves 900 kg of CO2 per trip, accounting for 70% of emissions. So this is a more sustainable method right across the chain.
Fost Plus is not alone in innovating. This year also saw progress among some of our members who have changed the design of their packaging to make it more recyclable. So we would like to thank them for these changes, which are fully in line with a more circular economy!
A communication campaign that makes sense of sorting
Everyone is sure to have seen or heard our extensive communication campaign on television, radio, social media or in collaboration with influencers, enabling us to reach different target groups. The aim was to make consumers aware of waste sorting so as to increase recycling. But there was more to it than that. Having conducted a large-scale survey, we noticed that some sorting rules still seemed to be causing problems. The reason for sorting was also not obvious. The campaign is to be continued in 2023. (Link to landing page).
We are convinced that 2023 will once again be a year brimming with innovations, recycling and collaboration! The further steps taken in Extended Producer Responsibility and the additional commitments made by our members in the fight against litter will no doubt present new challenges.
We would like to finish this article with a message from Fost Plus CEO Wim Geens: