With Every Packaging Counts, Fost Plus together with the food companies and retailers in Belgium, aims to offer a solution for packaging that currently ends up as litter. This is an integrated action plan that is intended to lead to a lasting change in behaviour among the general public, an efficient and results-oriented litter policy and additional packaging recycling.
Litter is a stubborn social problem that leaves no one unaffected. It is a thorn in everyone’s side – the general public, authorities and environmental organisations, but also the companies that put the packaging on the market. Despite the many efforts that we all make, however, it appears that more is needed to reduce the amount of litter.
For Every Packaging Counts, Fost Plus joined forces with the federation of the Belgian food industry (Fevia) and the retailers federation (Comeos). We developed a joint and integrated action plan to tackle the fight against litter. This plan is based on five pillars:
- The blue bag as the cornerstone. The door-to-door collection of PMD via the blue bag is vital for the outstanding recycling figures that we record here in Belgium year after year. It is a simple, efficient and accessible system open to everyone in the country. Even in the future, it is set to remain the cornerstone of a sustainable approach to the litter problem and maximum recycling.
- Focus on prevention. Packaging that is not necessary should, of course, be avoided as much as possible. Less packaging also means less risk of litter. So the packaging companies pay a great deal of attention to systems and business models for reusable packaging and packaging-free solutions, for example for take-away and out-of-home consumption.
- Business world takes responsibility. A new European directive states that as of 1 January 2023, companies that put packaging on the market have to bear the costs related to the litter generated by their products. Fost Plus is ready to take on a coordinating role for its members, just as we do at present for the collection and recycling of their packaging. This also immediately establishes a central point of contact for the government and we can create advantages of scale for sharing knowledge and best practices.
- Invest in innovation. Belgium has always played a pioneering role in the field of packaging recycling. We aim to follow the same course in our approach to litter. We are looking into how we can collect even more drinks packaging for recycling by means of a smart digital deposit system, ensuring maximum convenience for the public. This is an alternative to the conventional deposit systems, which offer little added value in the Belgian context. Download the feasibility study for the new digital deposit system.
- Reward those who do a good job. Litter is the result of an attitude problem among a small minority of the population. An efficient enforcement policy remains essential for this obstinate group. At the same time, we also want to create positive incentives for those who do a good job, for example by means of reward systems like the Click. This instantly makes it clear to everyone that waste is actually valuable.