A pioneer of the circular economy, Belgian company Derbigum, founded nearly 100 years ago, has evolved from a family-run SME into a global player in sustainable, 100% recyclable roofing membranes, and today employs 350 people around the world. The group has two production units in Belgium (in Lot and Perwez). Over two thirds of its production is for export.
Derbigum’s strategy aims to offer sustainable, innovative and simple waterproofing solutions. The principle of the circular economy has been implemented wherever possible in the production of the roofing material. For example, Derbigum was the pioneer in the recycling of bituminous membranes to produce a new raw material, as early as 1999, via an installation on its Perwez site. Since 2010, a collection system funded entirely by Derbigum enables offcuts of roofing materials to be collected thanks to a co-operation with the construction materials distribution industry by establishing a collection point at every point of sale. In parallel with this, a close co-operation with the demolition industry has enabled high-quality bituminous membranes to be collected when industrial buildings that have reached the end of their lives are demolished. As a result, around 1,000,000 m² of bituminous waterproofing membranes are recycled every year to make new bitumen. A new recycling unit will be opened in early 2020.
In 2010, Derbigum added a vegetable-based waterproofing membrane to its range. This product is still the only waterproofing product in the world to be based on plant resources and offers a complete alternative to roofing membranes produced using petroleum compounds. Even if it currently only makes up a small proportion of turnover, its has the support of the public sector, as evidenced by the roof of the new United Nations building in Denmark which uses it.
Derbigum is continuing its commitment in 2019 by signing the Vlaanderen Circulair Green Deal for circular construction and the Voka Charter for sustainable development. For Derbigum, respect for the environment was written into its DNA even before it became a hot topic.