Do's and Dont's for recyclable packaging

Do's and Dont's for recyclable packaging

As of this year, companies that bring packaging onto the market which disrupts the current sorting and recycling scenarios risk falling under the highest Green Dot rate for obstructive packaging. 

The Green Dot not only reflects the actual costs linked to the recycling process for a specific material, but is also a financial incentive for companies to bring packaging onto the market that is more suited to recycling.

The Green Dot: more than a logo

Companies that bring packaged products onto the market are obliged to ensure take-back and recycling. Most companies join the Fost Plus collective system, which relieves them of this task. However, they still pay the actual costs linked to the selective collecting, sorting and recycling per material. This is the so-called Green Dot. The more difficult a material is to recycle, the higher the rate paid by the company. In other words, the Green Dot directs companies towards packaging that is in line with our sorting and recycling scenarios.

The Green Dot logo on packaging means that the manufacturer in question is affiliated to Fost Plus.

Obstructive packaging

As stipulated in its accreditation, as of this year, packaging that hampers the collection, sorting and/or recycling is given a dissuasive Green Dot rate. This is intended to encourage companies to avoid such packaging as much as possible. However, switching to a different packaging takes time. So as a transitional rule, the Interregional Packaging Commission (IRPC) has approved a temporary exemption for three packaging types.

  • Plastic bottles at least 70% of which is covered by a sleeve (or 50% for bottles <50cl), if this consists of a different material than the bottle and is not perforated.
  • Laminated plastic packaging with aluminium film.
  • Laminated cardboard packaging such as crisps and dried milk tubes or boxes that contain less than 85% paper fibre.

However, the companies concerned must be able to prove that they are taking the necessary steps to eliminate the obstructive packaging from their range. Fost Plus follows this process closely with them.

For plastic cans with a metal bottom or top and oxo-degradable packaging, however, the dissuasive rate applies immediately. Moreover, such packaging is banned by the EU and is consequently hardly ever found on the market.

Active cooperation with members

Het is de doelstelling van Fost Plus om voor elke huishoudelijke verpakking op de markt een recyclageoplossing te bieden. Vandaag is dat nog niet het geval voor zo’n 2% van de verpakkingen. Fost Plus gaat samen met die bedrijven op zoek naar manieren om de recyclage van de verpakking al van in de ontwerpfase mee te nemen. Dat is Design for Recycling. Dat wil bijvoorbeeld zeggen dat er voor complexe verpakkingen bestaande uit meerdere materialen overgestapt wordt op een monomateriaal of dat de sleeve rond een product voorzien wordt van een perforatie die de consument er zelf kan afhalen en zo de twee delen correct kan sorteren. Op die manier zorgen we ervoor dat er een recyclageoplossing komt voor die laatste 17.000 ton aan huishoudelijke verpakkingen.

Download the Design for Recycling guidelines

It is advisable for companies that bring new packaging onto the market to check that it is suitable for the recycling process. There are five main issues:

  1. Give preference to mono materials and single layers.
  2. Ensure that the material can be properly detected in the sorting centres.
  3. Avoid a double coating on cardboard packaging because in this case, the paper fibres cannot be recovered.
  4. Compostable (biodegradable) packing cannot be put with the PMD or the organic waste.
  5. Beware of labels and handles and the adhesives and inks that they use.

Would you like to know more? Find out about the Design for Recycling guidelines in detail in this presentation. Do you have any questions or a specific packaging query? Contact our packaging experts.