Empty Logistics

The use of glass bottles for beverages remains popular in Belgium. The costs of sorting out, transporting and storing these empty bottles is not to be neglected and often not very transparent. In this project VIL aims to analyse and reduce these non-value adding costs.


status: Closed | theme: Green Supply Chains | type: Regional

A significant share of the logistic activity in the beverage and retail industry consists of managing the flows of empty bottles. With its project Empty Logistics, VIL wants to reduce the total cost of the supply chain of returnable empties, either by improving current flows and processes and by introducing totally new service concepts, like managing the entire flow of empties independent of a particular brand or retailer. Such a full scale logistics service package would include collecting, sorting and putting empties back at the disposal of beverage producers.


  • The reduction of cost in the total logistic chain of returnable empties.
  • New concept(s) for logistics services including the associated business model(s).
  • A shift to railway and/or inland shipping between consolidation points and producers.


  • The current flows of returnable empties in Flanders are being analysed, both quantitative and qualitative. The total cost of the logistic chain will be made transparent.
  • Analysis: Which impact does a partial or complete removal of empties flows from existing return flows of other goods (e.g. trolleys, packaging waste) have on the cost of those returns?
  • Search for cost savings, within the existing flows and processes as well as within new concepts and business models.
  • Practical tests: improvement proposals and new concepts will be tested in actual practice, including modal shift opportunities.


VIL members can download the report (in Dutch) via the VIL library. Non-members can purchase it via our webshop


Planned launch: February 2017

Total lead time: 15 months

Participating companies

Eight companies: AB Inbev, Belgische Brouwers, Chep, Coca Cola European Partners Belgium, Delhaize, FeBeD, Jost Logistics (Verbessem) en Retail Partners Colruyt Group.

 belgische-brouwers-federatie  coca-cola delhaize febed Jostgroup colruyt


Press (in Dutch)

18/04/2017 – VIL persbericht: ‘VIL zoekt logistieke oplossingen voor hoge kosten leeggoed.’


VIL stands for a strong logistical Flanders

About VIL

Koninklijkelaan 76 - B-2600 Berchem
T: +32 3 229 05 00
E: info@vil.be
VAT: BE 0480.185.038
IBAN: BE59 0014 0122 5826