Soprema, global expert in waterproofing and insulation has invested in a new recycling plant on Belgian territory. The construction of a brand-new industrial complex has officially started in Grobbendonk. Central point of focus is the ZLOOP, a unique recycling installation for bitumen. This circular construction project goes hand-in-hand with an investment of over 30 million euro.  

Second sustainable multi-million-euro investment in a short time

Since 2020, you can find the Soprema sustainable and emission-free insulation plant equipped with an EPS to XPS recycling unit at the industrial park Tongeren-Oost. Today, Soprema is once again investing in a recycling factory on Belgian territory. This time, the building complex on the existing Soprema-site in Grobbendonk is completely new and will house the ZLOOP recycling unit.

“The ZLOOP is an installation used to recycle bituminous cutting and demolition waste, better known as roofing”, Managing Director Marc Geerts explains. “This way, we allow recycled bitumen to have a second life as newly-generated high-quality bitumen – right here on our Belgian production site. With this, within the construction industry Soprema will set the tone in the field of circularity.”

30 million euro, over 6,000 tonnes of waste each year

The total investment comprises of more than 300 million euro. Of this investment, the innovative ZLOOP-share is co-financed for 30% by the European Union (RRF) in light of the ‘Flemish resilience’ project.

Marc Geerts accentuates the unique nature of this investment. “The development of this high-technology large-scale industrial recycling unit for bituminous waste is unparalleled. The installation has a capacity of at least 6,000 tonnes a year and envisages maximum circularity.”

“The result of the recycling process is a first-rate raw material for the production of new bituminous waterproofing membranes. A genuine circular process resulting in as much bitumen on a brand-new roof as possible, with the remnants processed to renewed raw materials. The ZLOOP substantiates Soprema’s spearhead position as market leader in waterproofing and insulation. Let’s go to zero!”

Three-phase masterplan with an insulation first

Main contractor edibo had the honour of placing the first official column of the new Soprema complex. The starting shot of a three-phase masterplan.

“In this first phase, the capacity of the existing production space is doubled and expanded with the ZLOOP recycling installation”, Project Leader Maarten Roes expounds. “Phases 2 and 3 will comprise of the construction of new warehouse halls and offices. By the way, soon the characterising green roofs and green walls in weathering steel from the Soprema branch in Tongeren can be seen in Grobbendonk as well.” Another interesting news fact is that “Soprema will – besides their roof insulation and roof insulation materials – for the first time ever offer loose insulation that can be cast into prefabricated concrete panels. An insulation first that we’ll put into practice soon.”

Minimal ecological footprint

“The design prioritises a minimal ecological footprint”, William Allen Zimmerman of architectural firm wilma wastiau adds. “In first instance, the building consultant requested maximum use of the existing buildings with additional optimisations. Every building section will be furbished with the newest energy-efficient technology, including an optimised climate control and ventilation system, including a solar installation with a peak output of no less than 1 megawatt. The rest of the roofs is ecologically integrated with intensive green roofs and a sustainable rainwater management system.”

“Moreover, all the activities will be centralised indoors. Linked to an adapted circulation plan for green areas surrounding the site – waste transportation and private transport are kept strictly separate – it is clear that the needs of the direct environment are taken into account as well.”

The ZLOOP is an installation used to recycle bituminous cutting and demolition waste, better known as roofing.

First major deadline: December 2023

“This project is particularly challenging given the very ambitious phasing”, Wim De Ryck from project management and environmental services firm Infinum anticipates cautiously. “The first building will already be delivered completely wind and watertight by the end of December 2023. Not to mention that the entire industrial site will remain fully operational during the construction works. This fact, reinforced by the sustainability vision of Soprema ensures us maximum commitment to successfully complete this exquisite realisation, together with edibo and all the other construction partners.”

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