Successful recycling of feeding bottles to be expanded

Thanks to the Baby Bottle Reborn project, disposable baby feeding bottles are being sorted and recycled into new raw materials instead of ending up as residual waste. Sirris also took part in this project, which is now, due to its success, being extended to other hospitals.

Every year Belgian hospitals throw away millions of baby feeding bottles - good for more than 300 tons of high-quality plastics - after a single use. These are then simply incinerated. That approach had to become more sustainable. This is why Sirris, together with a working group of interested parties, started the 'Baby Bottle Reborn' pilot project in 2013 at the University Hospital of Leuven (UZ Leuven). The project partners aimed to recycle this material stream by identifying and solving the legal, technical and logistic problems involved. The result is that the disposable bottles are now sorted as PMD (plastic, metal can and drink carton) waste at the Hospital before being recycled into new raw materials.

The next step is to exploit the experience and results acquired in Leuven by extending the project to some other hospitals in Flanders. This has been made possible thanks to Fost Plus, which supports the initiative, and in collaboration with OVAM. The information and experience that will be gained through this expansion could, if successful, pave the way for a subsequent step that would make the practice the norm.

The whole project is already an inspiring example for many other material streams in healthcare and beyond. Cross-sectoral partnerships based on shared objectives - in this case more and better recycling - clearly bear fruit. The Sustainability department of Sirris would therefore like to continue organising such projects in order to contribute to the sustainability of the economy. Thanks to the support of 'Fonds Duurzaam Materialen- en Energiebeheer' (managed by King Baudouin Foundation), this Baby Bottle Reborn project could be set up; and despite a limited budget a large and lasting impact could be realized.