Sustainability is to act!

Berdal has been working on more sustainable business operations since the nineties of the past century. We believe that themes such as sustainability and circular construction require innovation. That means more collaboration throughout the business chain. Using the themes human, raw materials, logistics, environment and initiatives we demonstrate what concrete actions we take when it comes to sustainable and corporate social responsibility.

Sustainability is to act
Healthy work-life balance

1. Theme: Human

Healthy work-life balance

A good work-life balance is important to us, and we discourage working overtime where possible. In order to promote a healthier lifestyle, we offer our employees free fruit on an ongoing basis, but also training to quit smoking. In cooperation with local work development company ‘Ontplooj’ we also provide space to colleagues with a distance to the employment market. 

Equal opportunities and rights for everyone

Regardless of gender, race or religious belief, every employee of Berdal has the same opportunities, rights and obligations. Both at our location in the Netherlands and in Poland we strive for a balanced mix of employees when it comes to these aspects. We do not conduct business with suppliers where these values are demonstrably violated or where these values are apparently not maintained.

2. Theme: Raw materials

Recycled raw materials for construction buckets, mortar tubs and trays

We use recycled raw materials in our production processes as much as possible since 1995. We work with recycling companies making granulate from household waste. All of our production waste is fully reused as a basis for new products. This allows us to guarantee that we work with 100% recycled polyethylene raw materials as the foundation for our construction buckets, mortar tubs and trays. In addition, we also develop equivalent products requiring less raw materials. The buckets in our Gripline Durable series are just as strong as traditional buckets but are produced with 20% less plastics. This enabled us to save no less than 544,000 kilos of raw materials in 2021.

Making circular construction possible

As of 2014, all of our buckets, tubs and trays have been awarded the German eco-label Der Blaue Engel, because these products are less harmful to the environment than equivalent products. We started the Cradle-to-Cradle certification in 2019 for multiple products and brands. We are now the only company in Europe supplying a range of EPDM products for roofs and facades that are C2C certified. Once our recycled range of construction buckets, mortar tubs and trays is awarded the C2C label later this year, we will investigate how we can also produce our (technical) foils in a fully circular way.

Raw materials are recycled
Shorter supply chain

3. Theme: Logistics

Shorter supply chain, less packaging material

By shortening the supply chain, by packing products smarter and by reducing the number of packaging operations, we lower our CO₂ emission. We deliver decentralised since 2017, meaning we avoid transport movements from a central warehouse to retail facilities and shops.  We are constantly looking for the shortest and most efficient route to a final destination. We supply our relations in Denmark, for example, from our own logistics centre in Poland. When concluding new contracts with transport partners, we make agreements on the reduction of emissions and further optimisation of the supply chain.

More sustainable supply and fleet

We also take a critical look at the logistic flows when it comes to the supply of raw materials and semi-finished products. We have, for example - despite cost increases - decided to have several semi-finished products produced in the Netherlands instead of in Spain, to reduce the pressure on the logistics and the environment. We also started the electrification of our own fleet. Sales & sales promotion employees, management and board members will switch to hybrid of fully electric driving as much as possible.

4. Theme: Environment

Sustainable management of raw materials and energy

We opt for recycled materials as raw materials and packaging materials where possible. We consider the environmental impact of our products and processes for every investment and policy choice in the final decisions we make. We chose a new brand of moulding machines in 2018, for example, using 20-25% less energy and, with that, significantly reducing the CO₂ emission. Internal transport is only electric, and the energy needed is purchased as green energy as much as possible.

Reducing packaging materials

We are continuously looking to optimise our packaging and to reduce the packaging plastics used for supplies and products. We invested in a new packaging line in 2020 wrapping pallets with 25% less packaging materials. That is how we saved more than 22,000 kilos of packaging materials in 2021 to package our buckets, mortar tubs and trays. In that same year, we invested in a special banding machine, so our rolls of EPDM no longer have to be wrapped in plastic. The decrease of printed material and further digitalisation of our communications limit the use of paper and cardboard.

Sustainable management of raw materials
Sustainable alternatives

5. Theme: Initiatives

Producing more with less plastic

In July 2019, as the only company in this industry, we became a member of the Dutch Plastic Pact, a collaboration of the public sector, private enterprises and several NGOs, supported by the European Union. By doing so, we commit to the objective to use 20% less plastic in 2025 compared to 2018. We do so by using less plastic, by enhancing the collection of plastic and by promoting the use of recycled raw materials. 

We are also an active member of the work group ‘Reduce and Reuse’ in order to increase the reuse of household waste for new raw materials. At least 30 percent of our plastic production is recycled and returned to us in new products.

Promoting innovation in the field of sustainability

Everyone involved in the plastic processing or developing industry has to deal with questions about recycling, the reduction of plastic waste, circularity or working with biobased raw materials. Because we believe that collaboration, sustainability and innovation go hand in hand, we have been a partner of the Polymer Science Park (PSP) in Zwolle for many years. Also to be able to execute commercial projects, we decided to establish a new private limited liability company in cooperation with other entrepreneurs: PSP Projects. This organisation translates business questions into a foundation to construct projects. Vice versa, it also signals new developments in the fields with many business questions, such as recycling.

Sustainable added value  

In order to provide buckets with company logos in a more efficient and sustainable way we have opted - as the only party within the industry - to switch to In Mould Labeling (IML). This means we apply a recyclable label during the production process. That is how we prevent double packaging, use of ink and extra transports from and to the screen-printing company. Our PE labels can be recycled as a whole, together with the buckets.

More sustainable product lines

We developed a line of buckets, tubs and trays in 2018 under the revealing name Gripline Durable. Substantial investments in raw material optimisation and new moulds ensured that the new range complies with the standards and basic principles of the Plastic Pact. With 20% less plastics – that consist of 100% recycled material – these products are just as strong as traditional products but significantly more sustainable. 65% of our production currently exists of this product line. We strive to further increase this share in the coming years.

Return of buckets, mortar tubs and trays

We will start a subsidised project in the second half of 2022 in cooperation with the Plastic Pact to pick up used construction buckets, mortar tubs and trays from DIY shops. We want to use this pilot to assess what is feasible directly from the user-side to establish a fully circular system. The goal of this project is to return used plastic products to the producer by means of recycling. If the pilot is successful, we will further expand this project in 2023.