This domain covers sustainable logistics and distribution methods that significantly reduce the packaging of raw materials, materials and products. They can be found in the departments of storage, inventory management, transportation, loading and/or distribution. These systems are part of both a preventive approach and the reuse of packaging in various food-related markets.

Why supporting this domain? 

Distribution and logistics are key activities for the Belgian economy. In 2015, 8 % of the workforce was active in this sector in Belgium. Further growth is expected in transportation and volume of goods to be transported, with a consequent increase in the use of packaging to transport products to consumers. Over the last ten years, the use of packaging has increased significantly, with a rate of 10 % for single-use household packaging and 4 % for professional packaging. 75 % of the weight of household packaging on the market in Belgium is used for food and beverage products.

The role of packaging is to properly protect products to extend the shelf life of food and thus fight against food waste. But their increasing number has serious consequences on the environment. This observation is now taken into consideration by the company, both in a "B2B" and "B2C" context. This increased interest in the prevention and reuse of packaging creates a favorable context for the emergence of alternative solutions. The challenge is to protect the products while reducing the environmental footprint of the packaging. 

The development of new options also anticipates the request to the European Commission, as part of the Circular Economy Action Plan, to revise the Directive on packaging with a focus on reducing packaging and packaging waste and to act in line with the directive on single-use plastic products.

This is where the circular transition can make a difference, by applying innovative and circular concepts that reduce the need for and use of materials for packaging through collaboration between the different actors in the supply chain.

What are the expected projects? 

In this call, we focus on chain-level solutions rather than product-level solutions. Because of the circular design opportunities related to this domain, we are looking for projects that offer eco-design solutions for:

  • minimal (primary) use of materials in the supply chain: less materials (lighter packaging, in bulk transport or storage...), more biodegradable bio-sourced materials, more recycled materials; 
  • extending the life of a product and the reuse of packaging; 
  • maintenance and repair to further extend the life of the packaging; 
  • efficient and high quality recycling; 
  • traceability and information sharing on products and components; 
  • develop new collection systems for reusable packaging. 

We also support projects that propose new business and consumption models based on packaging refilling (B2C), packaging return (B2C), packaging as a service (B2B), shared access (B2B), shorter supply chains (B2B) and on collaborative methods for circular design (B2B and B2C). 

For more details on the projects to be developed under this theme, read the memorandum.