- Out of more than 765,000 tonnes of packaging put on the Belgian market by our members in 2022, 95% was recycled, 81% of it in Belgium.
- Thanks to the New Blue Bag, selective PMD collection rose from 14.9 kg per person in 2018 to 22.8 kg per person in 2022.
- 2022 was the first full year when all Belgian households used the New Blue Bag. As a result, the plastic recycling percentage rose from 52% to 61%, a significant increase compared with the previous year.
The inimitable success of the New Blue Bag
The New Blue Bag has now been fully operational for a whole year for the first time. The last intermunicipal company switched to the New Blue Bag at the end of 2021, so the 2022 collection results give us a clear view of the actual yield. And it is exactly in line with expectations. We have already achieved the targeted results in the first full year: with an average of almost 23 kilos per year, we are now collecting an extra 8 kilos of PMD per person.
Wim Geens, Managing Director of Fost Plus
By expanding the contents to include virtually all plastic packaging, Fost Plus is adding almost 90,000 tonnes of material to the circular economy (compared with 2018). The expansion therefore had a clear impact on the plastic recycling percentage, which rose from 52% in 2021 to 61% in 2022.
Blue bag boosts Belgian circular economy
What’s more, expanding the blue bag has given the circular economy in this country a huge boost. As of 2019, investments were made in five high-tech sorting centres scattered throughout Belgium, all of which are now operational: Indaver (Willebroek), Prezero (Evergem), Valtris (Couillet), Val’Up (Ghlin) and Sitel (Engis).
For further packaging recycling, too, Fost Plus opts for local processing capacity as much as possible. A total of five new recycling facilities are being built to recycle plastic material flows from the blue bag. Three of these are now operational: Ecoo Houthalen-Helchteren, Ecoo Beringen, FILAO (partially since end 2022).
Moreover, with the local sorting and recycling centres, Fost Plus is also helping to create local, lasting employment.
More and more recycling in Belgium
Thanks to the new sorting and recycling centres in Belgium, more and more of the waste collected in this country is also actually recycled here. In 2022, this was the case for no less than 81% of all household packaging collected.
In addition, Fost Plus is well on the way to recycling over 75% of plastic packaging material on Belgian soil as of 2025. Last year, 18.5% of the plastic packaging material collected was recycled in Belgium, while the remainder was sent to neighbouring countries (compared with 9% in 2020 and 12% in 2021).
Besides PMD, in 2022 we recycled 15.2 kg paper-cardboard waste and 30.1 kg glass per person. So glass recycling remains more or less stable, while the quantity of paper and cardboard recycled fell slightly.
Close cooperation with everyone involved for out-of-home PMD sorting
Belgians have been the best home sorters for decades, thanks to door-to-door PMD collection. Unfortunately, out of home too much packaging still gets lost because it ends up with the residual waste or as litter. In companies too – despite the sorting obligation – a great deal of PMD still gets lost in the residual waste. So there is a great deal of potential for additional recycling. Fost Plus is therefore taking action in various ways to be able to recover this packaging and is working with a number of different parties to achieve this. Successfully, because in 2022 Fost Plus again achieved its goals in this area with over 24,000 tonnes of PMD collected out of home (22,000 tonnes in 2021).