Van Werven officially opened its Lanaken branch during the two-day opening event held on 25 and 26 September. The event was attended by various stakeholders from the sector, who were present to discuss current and future challenges.
Last spring, Van Werven built a brand new wash and milling facility in Lanaken. This represents an investment of € 2.5 million, and means that the entire recycling process can be carried out on site, encompassing the shred, washing and milling of materials into small, clean fragments. Belgian waste will then re-enter the Belgian market as a basic raw material. The total annual production amounts to 15 million tons of reusable raw materials, and we aim to double this in 2019. Together with the various stakeholders from the sector and policymakers who were present at the official opening, Van Werven aims to tackle this huge mountain of as yet untapped recycling potential.
Environmental policy in Belgium
The new factory in Lanaken did not come about by chance. It’s the logical consequence of the Belgian authorities’ ambitious environmental policy, which seeks, among other things, better processing of separated waste. Van Werven is the only company to make this possible for used hard plastics. “In turn, we want to motivate these same authorities to continue on the path they’ve taken, because the presence of innovative processing facilities makes it both feasible and profitable to impose even stricter recycling requirements. In this way, we can all tackle the huge mountain of untapped recycling potential together!” emphasises Ton Van der Giessen, Van Werven’s managing director.
Closing the cycle locally
According to Peter Brughmans, purchase consultant at Van Werven Belgium: “Our mission is to close the cycle in the local context. We won’t need to extract raw materials from places on the other side of the planet; we can organise the entire recycling process here in Belgium, and only sell new raw materials within Europe. With respect to logistics, this kind of local approach naturally results in both economic returns and a smaller ecological footprint.”
The following are some of the people who shared their vision at the opening event: Joke Schauvliege (Flemish Minister for Environment, Nature and Agriculture), Paul Macken (president, Interafval), Saskia Walraedt (director, PolyMatters – Essenscia division), Marc Jamin (director, Government Relations & Public Affairs, Corporate Innovation & Business Development, SABIC), Ton Van der Giessen (managing director, Van Werven) and Peter Brughmans (purchase consultant, Van Werven Belgium). Joke Schauvliege shared her vision in a video message that can be seen below.
Recently, Van Werven’s shareholders also visited the Lanaken site, which is located on the Meers Transport site. Just like Van Werven, Meers Transport is a family company. Wilfred van Werven, one of the shareholders, is happy with the partnership: “In terms of culture, we suit each other, you can see it and feel it. We’re working together on real solutions, as we at Van Werven call them.”
Want to read more? Check out our previously published news item about the first load to come off the new washing and milling facility in Lanaken.