Research & Regulation



The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) require bottle-to-bottle recyclers to guarantee that non-food bottles do not exceed 5% of their feedstock. In short, at least 95% of bottles that are to be recycled back to drinking bottles, must be food-grade.

Household collection systems, like in Belgium, cannot provide this guarantee as we cannot track what is thrown in the PMD and P+MD bags. With reverse vending machines, we use barcodes and other sensors to scan each bottle to make sure we are only accepting food-grade PET bottles. So we can say with confidence that all of our bottles are eligible for high-quality food-grade recycling. We enable recyclers by following EFSA regulation and collecting a clean stream of used bottles.

To ensure we can do this with high accuracy, we are building the first dedicated database of barcodes to effectively authenticate acceptable bottles in Belgium.


“Our streets, squares, roadsides and nature are strewn with litter. 40% of that litter consists of cans and plastic bottles.”

5.575 tonnes of street litter in Flanders consists of plastic bottles and cans. A large amount of this waste can be found on alongside roads where we find fewer public bins.

We have designed a trial with a specially built outdoor reverse vending machine, to install at service stations and at bus stops. By providing convenience and an incentive to users, we want to test whether focusing on these areas will lead to cleaner roadsides, less plastic waste leaking into our rivers and lower costs of cleaning up our streets (€164 million in Flanders).

If you are interested in participating in a pilot test, email us at


To reduce the economic and environmental costs of logistics, reverse vending machines compress the bottles. Unlike the current household collection system, we can reduce the need of frequent collection. We want to take this one step further by shredding the bottles into flakes within the machines. This would reduce the need to transport the bottles to a sorting facility and the shredded flakes can be transported directly to a recycling facility.

There is an on-going trial in France, where a high-capacity machine with a shredder has been placed outside of a large supermarket. We are awaiting the initial results and are looking to carry out a similar pilot test in Belgium.

Luitenant Naeyaertplein 25
2140 Antwerpen

Copyright © 2020 GO ZERO BV. All rights reserved.