Facilitating the circular economy
Together with its partners, Valipac makes things possible!
Valipac has a unique position in Europe. We are the only organisation that specifically manages C&I packaging. Not only do we exceed the European recycling targets, but together with our partners, we work daily on the circular economy of C&I packaging. An economy that focuses on four areas of action.
Our areas of action
1. PROMOTING RECYCLABILITY AND CIRCULARITY
Acting together for a circular economy starts with the empowerment of all stakeholders. Our customers have a very important role to play here by looking for the most sustainable packaging. Our role is to guide our customers as best we can towards more circularity in their choice of corporate packaging.
What do we do to promote recyclability and circularity?
Circular shrink hoods
In 2020, we completed the circular shrink film made from half recycled material and half a blend of virgin polymers. The process is economically viable and has deliberately not been patented to encourage mass dissemination.
The collaboration with Wienerberger in 2019 has been emulated in the construction sector. Other leading companies in this sector are currently testing their packaging to replace virgin material with recycled material.
Circular stretch film
In collaboration with Dow and Mima Films, we are currently working on the development of a stretch film that contains 25% recycled plastic.
This is a technically complex process due to the composition of the stretch film. Tests are underway and the film should be available on the market from 2020.
The partners in this project are Colruyt, Dow, U-Hasselt, Reynaers Aluminium, Mima Films and Rymoplast.
Design 4 Recycling guidelines
Without the right specialist knowledge, all too often businesses are still choosing their packaging materials without reference to their circularity indicators. This is especially true for industrial packaging
Coming to their aid, Valipac is currently developing a tool designed to evaluate the circularity of industrial packaging (especially for plastic film). This evaluation, based on objective criteria, allocates a circularity score to packaging materials, in the same way that energy consumption ratings are given to domestic appliances.
This tool takes several different parameters into account, such as finding different types of material in the same packaging, colouring agents, adhesives, etc. It also considers the inclusion of recycled materials (recycled content), as well as the possibilities available for recycling the packaging material once it enters the waste stream and reusing the recycled material in new products.
This tool should be available at the end of this year. Our long-term goal is to evolve towards having guidelines on the circularity of packaging at a European level. For this purpose, we collaborate with EPRO, the European Association of Plastics Recycling.
Pack It Better
Companies often do not know where to turn to improve the sustainability of their packaging. In order to help them on their way to more sustainable packaging, Fost Plus and Valipac, in collaboration with various centres of expertise, are launching the Pack It Better knowledge platform.
Through this platform, companies not only find relevant information and case studies, but are also put in contact with centres of expertise that provide concrete help to improve the sustainability of their packaging. We focus on quantitative and qualitative prevention, better recyclability and circular applications.
Do you want to optimise the use of packaging in your company but don’t know how to go about it? Call on our packaging diagnostics!
During a half-day audit, we will take a close look at the household and industrial packaging you use to market your goods in search of quick wins.
- how sustainable is your packaging?
- how can you optimise your logistics with the right packaging?
- is all your packaging necessary?
- are there more sustainable alternatives?
Through these questions and many others, our advisors will help you to make clearer choices regarding your packaging.
The packaging diagnostics are carried out in collaboration with Fost Plus, CELABOR and the Verpakkingscentrum of the University of Hasselt. They are free of charge for Fost Plus and Valipac customers.
Bonus for recycled content
Due to a lack of processing capacity and too little demand for recycled material in Europe, much of our industrial plastic packaging is recycled outside of Europe. Valipac intends to boost recycling in Europe by stimulating the use of recycled materials in industrial packaging.
Valipac’s business customers can benefit from a bonus of €50/tonne for all industrial plastic packaging:
- made from a minimum of 30% post-consumer recycled material
- from suppliers listed on myrecycledcontent.com
- used to sell goods on the Belgian market.
2. ENCOURAGING SELECTIVE COLLECTION IN COMPANIES
The recycling targets imposed by the new Cooperation Agreement, which governs the management of household and industrial packaging for the three Belgian regions, are very ambitious.
Increasing the already high recycling rates is a challenge. Capturing the remaining tonnages requires great efforts. But these efforts have resulted in a nice gradual increase in the overall recycling rate and, in particular, in the plastic recycling rate.
Overall, companies are sorting more and better, but there is still room for improvement.
What are we doing to stimulate sorting in companies?
Awareness-raising on plastic film sorting 2020
In order to stimulate the selective collection of plastic films from companies, we launched a marketing campaign in September 2020 in collaboration with 13 affiliated collectors to more than 17,000 companies that do not yet sort this stream.
In order to get the message across to companies in an effective way, we have called on the services of the ‘sorting coaches’ Nic Balthazar and Patrick Ridremont. With concrete advice, they encouraged companies to sort their plastic film.
After one month, 69% of the companies said they had already started using the bags, and 64% were considering buying the bags from their waste collector in the future.
Survey on the obstacles and levers to plastic sorting
Why don’t companies sort their plastic waste?
In the autumn of 2020, we commissioned Haystack to carry out a survey of 400 companies throughout Belgium on the obstacles and levers to sorting plastic waste.
Lack of intrinsic motivation and clear information: it is easier not to sort
Just over half of the companies surveyed (54%) admit that it is easier not to sort. They (52%) are faced with too many different plastic streams and (49%) feel they have too little plastic waste to sort.
Companies are looking for information and simplification in the sorting process
The majority (85%) would like to be able to collect all kinds of plastic in one container and (79%) are looking for clear instructions. Communication materials could help them to start sorting (75%).
Companies that do not sort their plastics often do not know how to do so or assume (wrongly) that it does not make much difference because the volumes generated are rather small.
I sort in my company website
What are my company’s obligations? Am I entitled to certain incentives? What happens to my waste once it has been sorted and removed? These are questions that many entrepreneurs and managers ask themselves. jetriedansmonentreprise.be now provides them with all the answers.
Incentives for sorting packaging waste
Actively organising the recycling of your packaging waste is a legal obligation for all companies. In return for its efforts, your company can benefit from several incentives linked to the sorting of your industrial packaging.
Clean Site System
Clean Site System is a department of Valipac that focuses on the construction sector. Since 2005, we have been promoting the collection of plastic packaging films from construction sites.
What is the objective of the Clean Site System?
to offer contractors a cost-effective solution to dispose of plastic waste from their construction sites in a simple and low-cost way
to protect the environment as the collected plastic is recycled and used as a raw material in the manufacture of other products.
Insights for waste management companies
Valipac collects data on waste production in companies. This activity has made Valipac a key player in the industrial waste scene. Not only are we the only ones to have reliable and recent information, but we also use it to raise the awareness of the players in the chain to improve waste sorting in companies. Today, thanks to Valipac, they have figures and analyses that enable them to carry out targeted actions.
Radio campaign May 2021
Encouraging companies to sort their (industrial packaging) waste remains our priority. Our radio campaign launched in May 2021 highlights two unusual Belgian records and the fact that Belgian companies are champions in sorting. In this way we want to encourage companies that are not yet sorting to join the ranks of the recordmen/women.
Listen to our radio spots again:
Radio campaign September 2021
Fost Plus and Valipac are joining forces to raise awareness among companies about sorting their plastic packaging. A single voice and a single message in favour of sorting.
This campaign was broadcast in September 2021 on the main radio stations in Belgium and relayed on Facebook.
Listeners and internet users are invited to visit trierautravail.be for useful information on sorting instructions and incentives.
Awareness-raising on plastic film sorting 2021
For the fourth year in a row, we have organised an awareness campaign for companies that do not yet sort plastic film. We are helping them to do this by distributing free starter kits with three collection bags and useful information on how to sort their plastic film.
The campaign is becoming increasingly successful every year. As many as 5,000 businesses receive the starter kit each year. Another 15,000 have the opportunity to order it for free.
In 2021, we have seen a 44% increase in orders compared to 2020. Most orders come from the non-food wholesale and retail sectors (25%), the motor trade and petrol stations (20%), metal (16%), the hotel and catering industry (16%) and food wholesale and retail (10%).
3. ENSURING TRACEABILITY TO GUARANTEE RECYCLING
Almost 50% of industrial packaging waste is treated in Belgium.
The destination of industrial packaging waste varies according to the type of material. The vast majority of wood and metals, for example, are processed in Belgium. 75% of paper/cardboard is recycled in Europe. Plastic, on the other hand, is mainly recycled outside Europe. Overall, we can estimate that Belgium processes just under half of the industrial packaging waste it produces.
What actions are we taking to ensure traceability and guarantee recycling?
Mapping of destinations
Thanks to contracts with traders and the collaboration of affiliated collectors, we are the first organisation in Europe to have succeeded in establishing a precise map of industrial plastic packaging waste of Belgian origin. Today, we have a clear picture of the final destinations of 97% of the plastic packaging waste from Belgium.
39% of industrial plastic packaging waste is treated in Europe
Of the 57,600 tonnes of industrial plastic packaging collected by the affiliated collectors in 2020, 39% was recycled in Europe (including Belgium, France, the Netherlands, etc.), 37% in Asia (including Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, etc.) and 24% in Turkey.
Audits at recyclers
In collaboration with our partner SGS, we carry out audits at the identified recyclers in order to check the effectiveness of the recycling of the quantities delivered, i.e. to ensure that the quantities delivered have been fully recycled and to guarantee compliance with the “broadly equivalent conditions” defined by the European Union (to check that the recycler does not use child or forced labour, that proper living conditions on the site are guaranteed as well as the general environmental and safety conditions)
Bonus for recycling by certified recyclers
Since 2022, we grant a financial incentive of €5/tonne to affiliated collectors or traders who have their industrial plastic packaging waste processed by a EuCertPlast or equivalent certified recycler.
EuCertPlast is a European certification programme for plastics recycling. EuCertPlast (or equivalent) certification of recyclers provides additional guarantees of effective recycling and compliance with broadly equivalent conditions.
4. STIMULATING LOCAL RECYCLING
Local recycling is a medium-term objective for which we are already laying the groundwork. We want to gradually attract exported waste to local facilities. To this end, we are setting up a financial incentive system to stimulate local recycling of industrial plastic packaging waste. At the same time, we are increasing the number of innovative projects to demonstrate that it is perfectly possible to use materials from selective collection to make new packaging.
What are we doing to stimulate local recycling?
Strapping is essential for securing certain loads during transport. But once they have served their purpose, they end up in the waste stream. So we took up the challenge, why shouldn’t used strapping become new strapping? We started looking for local partners who could provide a recycling solution for these strapping bands. This search led us to Recostrap, a subsidiary of the Dutch HSR Group.
In partnership with Recostrap and Ikea, we are currently organising the selective collection of plastic strapping from the Swedish giant’s Belgian distribution centres in order to have them recycled into new strapping at Recostrap.
ePE protective foams
Polyethylene is a multifaceted polymer. In addition to pallet film, drums and bottles, packaging is also
made of expanded polyethylene (ePE). This ePE is used to protect computer screens and other equipment, glass and windows, lacquered profiles, in short anything that is breakable or fragile. A little over a year ago, we were approached by two Belgian producers of ePE packaging to help them set up a return system.
Abriso-Jiffy and NMC wanted to collect their used packaging from their customers and reuse it in the production of new packaging. After some research, we found a large amount of ePE waste at Volvo (Cars and Trucks) and Audi, which has so far been recovered as energy.
Bonus for local recycling
Local recycling, or recycling within the EU, is the cornerstone of greater circularity, as flows that are recycled locally are more sustainable and better traceable. It also offers more guarantees on actual recycling.
From 2022 onwards, we stimulate local recycling of industrial plastic packaging waste through 2 types of bonuses:
- A bonus of €20/tonne for materials recycled within the EU.
- A bonus of €10/tonne for materials recycled in Belgium or its immediate surroundings.
These bonuses, as well as the EuCertPlast bonus, are cumulative. They are awarded to affiliated collectors or traders who can prove that they have directly and effectively recycled plastic packaging waste of Belgian origin in the EU.