Pre-sorting public waste bins

Recovering PMD from residual waste


Fost Plus wishes to offer a recycling solution for all packaging, including packaging that is consumed out of home. It is estimated that public waste bins contain about 20% PMD packaging, which is currently lost. That's why we decided to launch pre-sorting projects in various towns, cities and communes. The content of the waste bins is taken to a specialised sorting centre, where PMD packaging is recovered.


Public bins often do not offer the possibility of sorting the packaging from food and drinks on the go. From a practical point of view, it’s not possible to equip every rubbish bin with separate compartments for the various types of rubbish. But even if sorting islands are provided, the quality is not always as good as it might be. So we came up with an alternative solution to recover PMD and other recyclable materials.


It is estimated that public rubbish bins contain between 20 and 40% of recyclable packaging materials. This includes a lot of drinks packaging of course, but also packaging from sandwiches, salads, meals to go and other food and drinks that are consumed on the go. At the moment, this packaging stills ends up with the municipal waste and is then incinerated. Fost Plus wants to do something about this.

We are testing the feasibility of specific presorting paths to recover this packaging in several towns, cities and communes. This involves sending the entire contents of public rubbish bins after collection to a specialised sorting centre where the recyclable materials are separated from the residual waste. Such projects are ongoing among other places in Charleroi, Leuven and Namur.

For this project, Fost Plus is cooperating with Bruco, which specialises in the sorting of various waste flows and has a number of sites in Belgium. The waste from the public bins is sorted in Sambreville, where the company has set up a brand-new high-tech sorting line with optical separators. The sorted PMD packaging is then taken to our usual sorting centres, where it follows the same path as the packaging collected door to door via the blue PMD bag.

For the time being, the pilot project is still focusing on PMD, but ultimately we want to recover other packaging and materials from the bins, as well. Together with Bruco we are testing systems for presorting paper and cardboard, for instance. In addition, we want to extend the presorting project to other towns, cities and communes so that we can give a new life to as much packaging as possible. Finally, we are also looking into whether other installations may be suitable to sort this material.


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