What do we see?
In terms of weight, we see that the evolution of the packaging brought onto the market has remained stable in recent years. Three quarters of this packaging is used for food and drink products. Glass represents the largest share.
If we look at the collection rates, we see that they are quite high, with the exception of plastic. Although this is positive, it should be noted that these figures are not a 100% reflection of reality. There are a few reasons for this: firstly, not all packaging that is brought onto the market is included in the reporting to Fost Plus. Secondly, packaging of non-Belgian origin ends up in our waste collection (e.g. from online purchases abroad). This means that, when we look at the overall picture, the amount of packaging brought onto the market is an underestimate and the amount of packaging collected is an overestimate.
What’s the aim?
Non-degradable waste streams are produced throughout the food chain, from the production to the consumption phase. As with types of organic residues, we need to avoid waste in the first place. If this is unavoidable, then we need to extract as much value as possible from it. For non-degradable waste, this can be achieved through prevention, reuse and recycling. There is an important role for eco-design here, where the end-of-life phase is already taken into account during production.
Food packaging is not the only form of non-degradable waste, but it is responsible for a large part of the waste produced by consumers. This is why we are only focusing on this currently. In a later phase, we will also look at other non-degradable waste streams (e.g. commercial packaging).
Although in a circular model we aim for less waste, it is not easy to eliminate all food packaging. Not only does packaging offer the opportunity to communicate information about the food to the consumer, it also safeguards the quality of the product. If we cannot do without packaging, it is important to look for high-quality recyclable materials.
In the context of monitoring the circular economy, it would be interesting to have more details about this, such as the extent to which recyclable materials are used and what their material footprint is.
What does this indicator measure?
This indicator shows the evolution of the sorted collection of packaging waste and provides the percentage collected per type of packaging. European legislation provides that companies are responsible for the consumer packaging they put on the market and that they must report on this. To facilitate that process, most companies use Fost Plus for their reporting. Since this organisation operates on a Belgian level, the data we use here refers to the whole of Belgium.