The crucial role of waste management in the circular economy for packaging

The crucial role of waste management in the circular economy for packaging

In order to retain as much packaging as possible in the loop of the circular economy for packaging, it is crucial that it be correctly sorted and recycled. At home, this is already the case. By fostering sustainable waste management in the workplace, packaging waste is collected more efficiently there as well. This has meant that Fost Plus was able to collect 2000 extra tonnes of PMD outside the home in 2019.

Keeping 25,000 tonnes of PMD in the loop

Waste management is a fundamental part of the transition to a circular economy for packaging. Packaging using plastic, aluminium or cardboard, for example, is made initially of valuable and finite raw materials. By selectively collecting and recycling this packaging after use, the raw material can be recovered and reused time and again to make new packaging or products.

Businesses are currently required to sort their waste. That applies to waste arising from their activities as well as to bottles and tins that are used there like they are at home. That particular waste stream still often ends up in residual waste, and therefore the packaging and thus the materials are lost to recycling. It is estimated that about 25,000 tonnes of PMD ends up in residual industrial waste each year. Unnecessarily, since a correct and consistent approach to waste management for PMD is easy. The added value of a PMD sorting process is twofold.

  • First, over time you save both money and time via simple processes for waste management. Initially, of course, a certain effort has to be made, both in purchasing the infrastructure (sorting islands, for example), as well as in coordination. A private waste operator can provide support in this regard. Since sorting PMD is already a habit at home, implementation in the workplace is unfolding well. Ready to get started? Download the starter kit here.
  • Secondly, by sorting you are making a specific contribution to the production of packaging and other products or half-finished products out of recyclate. The value stream of the raw materials from packaging waste is coming to be of central importance. In this way, as a business you are giving expression to your responsibilities for Socially Responsible Entrepreneurship.
Sustainability in its DNA

The objective of companies today is no longer limited to generating profit. They seek to do this in a broader context that is good for both people and the planet. And with success: sustainable entrepreneurship not only boosts a company’s public image, but also contributes to the satisfaction of its employees. They have a sense of being part of a future-oriented organisation. Sorting projects are a very concrete reflection of that commitment, and also make for a pleasant work environment.

How do you get started? Every organisation is different and requires a specific approach. Employees are generally willing to sort their PMD, if the right systems are made available. Outside the home, sorting is just as easy as at home. A sorting project that is carried through on a bottom-up basis is, moreover, the ideal way to involve them actively in achieving the company’s sustainability strategy.

Setting up a sorting project need not be difficult. Download the checklist of the 5 crucial success factors here.

Doubling the volume of PMD collected outside the home by 2023

Collecting PMD from businesses is part of a major objective of Fost Plus, namely, to double the PMD collected from outside the home to 26,000 tonnes by 2023. We are well on the way: in 2019, 16,000 tonnes of PMD were collected outside the home, which is a 15% increase. PMD at the workplace represents an important share, in addition to household packaging waste discarded outdoors and elsewhere, and is selectively collected. Examples of these are sports clubs, events and service stations. As an engine of the circular economy for packaging, Fost Plus is investing significantly in collecting more household packaging waste where it is generated for high-quality recycling.

Would you like to find out more about how Fost Plus approaches the circular economy for packaging? Read our 2019 activity report.