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The bag containing your salad, the foil around your sugar wafer or the plastic packaging that holds 6 bottles of water together: this waste will soon be transported from all over Belgium to Beringen. Sector company Eco-oh! has started there with the construction of an advanced film-to-film recycling centre that is unique in Belgium. The goal: to process up to 42,000 tonnes of polyethylene films (PE) annually into granulate that can serve as a raw material for new, high-quality products. The foundation stone was laid in the presence of Flemish Minister for the Environment Zuhal Demir.

The new facility is part of the long-term agreement between Fost Plus, the organisation responsible for the collection and recycling of household packaging waste in Belgium, and five new sorting centres. They will aim for a constant influx of high-quality recycled material. In this way, the recycled polyethylene can be used as an alternative, high-quality raw material for new products and thus contribute to a circular economy.

The new recycling installation in Beringen should be ready at the beginning of 2022, representing an investment of 42 million euros and 30 jobs. The facility will cover a completely new recycling chain of an unprecedented size in Europe.

Limburg recycling hub

The Eco-oh! recycling centre will be located in the shadow of Biostoom, the waste-to-energy factory that chemical company Borealis and Bionerga, a specialist in recovering energy from waste, started using at the end of 2020. This recycling hotspot should thus become an attraction for a cluster of companies that contribute to innovative circular projects.

Extra recycling capacity for the new blue bag

The installation of Eco-oh! in Beringen also provides an answer to the extensive collection of household plastic waste as a result of the introduction of the new blue bag in 2019. As a result, 250,000 tonnes of plastic waste is collected annually, about 90,000 tonnes more than before.

This waste is sorted by type in five Belgian high-tech sorting centres. In addition to the new recycling centre in Beringen, another facility is being built in Houthalen and Couillet, near Charleroi, to process all those extra plastic bags, film and trays. A development that will help Belgium remain European recycling champion.