New blue recycling bags for Brussels and Flanders let you recycle more
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New blue recycling bags for Brussels and Flanders let you recycle more

Photo by The Brussels Times.

It used to be that only plastic bottles, cans, and drink cartons were allowed to be recycled in the blue PMD bags, but from next month onwards, people in Flanders and Brussels will be able to add more.

Butter containers, yoghurt pots, PET trays, plastic boxes like those that mushrooms come in, ziplock bags, jars for toiletries, empty toothpaste tubes, foils, and plastic films like the ones wrapped around bottles or cans can all be added to the updated blue bag.

The number of types of plastic that are allowed in the bag has gone from nine to 14.

The price of the bag will not change, and you can still use up your old blue bags unless the intermunicipal waste association decides otherwise, according to De Standaard.

The bags are also used by businesses, and have been gradually introduced in municipalities since 2019, allowing for some analysis as to how they impact waste management and recycling in general.

“On average, after the full roll-out, there will be an extra eight kilograms per inhabitant per year in the PMD,” said Patrick Laevers, managing director of Fost Plus. “In some municipalities, we are already achieving this faster than in others. The quality is good. Only 5% of the contents do not belong in it.”

Fost Plus is responsible for promoting, coordinating and financing the selective collecting, sorting and recycling of household packaging waste in Belgium.

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The weight of PMD waste is expected to increase from 160,000 to 260,000 tonnes per year. All this material is removed from residual waste and the incinerator and enters the recycling chain.

This waste is sorted domestically, with five new installations built towards that end.

Recycling is also increasingly taking place in Belgium overall. Up until now, only about 9% of plastic packaging waste has been recycled within Belgian borders. That will increase to more than half by 2023.

Factories are springing up in Beringen, Charleroi, and Houthalen.

The complete list and all the information about how and in what state to dispose of these items correctly can be found at this website.

Helen Lyons
The Brussels Times