BeoPlast: The green revolution in plastic products

At the family company “BeoPlast” in Langenfeld, climate protection and sustainability are not just elements of the firm’s philosophy that are actively and rigorously implemented, but also important drivers for innovation. For example, the medium-sized company is increasingly focussing on bio-based plastics in its carbon neutral production operation, and is currently planning the construction of its own wind turbine on the factory premises.

The family-run plastics company offers its customers a wide range of services: from producing concept sketches with customers to the production of prototypes to large-scale production with just-in-time deliveries – and all of this in harmony with the climate.

Climate protection objective:

  • To construct a wind turbine on company premises
  • To raise the proportion of sustainability-focussed supply partners from 60% to 70%
  • To increase the proportion of employees purchasing green electricity for their homes from 25% to 30%

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Foto: Ralph Matzerath

Theo Besgen with the “Faire Maus” (a mouse made according to fair trade principles) – its housing is manufactured from bio-based plastics by BeoPlast in a carbon neutral process

Sustainability in practice – carbon neutral production

Back in 2012, the company conceived several measures with the aim of achieving carbon neutrality, and then gradually implemented them. For example, the production process is now exclusively powered by green electricity from photovoltaic and hydroelectric installations. The gas heating system gave way to waste heat recovery from the factory, which provides enough energy to meet all of the company’s requirements for space heating and hot water. The plastics producer also switched all of its combustion engine-based vehicles to electric vehicles and electric forklift trucks. Through effective recycling and the efficient use of resources, it is able to reduce waste or even prevent it completely. Amongst other factors, the firm is supported by sustainability-focussed supply partners, the proportion of which is expected to increase by a further 10 per cent over the coming year – bringing their share up to 70 per cent. Two Breton Dwarf sheep are the most recent addition to the business and are taking care of the green areas on the firm’s site. The honey bees purchased by the employees are also playing their part in protecting the climate and conserving nature.

But despite this wide array of climate-friendly measures, it is not possible to avoid all business-related emissions. The emissions that still arise are fully offset, meaning that, overall, the firm’s activities are carbon neutral.

Sustainability literacy is the key to success

With each quotation, BeoPlast’s customers are given information about the carbon footprint of their production project in order to raise awareness and make them alert to the issues involved. By doing so, the company is also increasingly convincing its customers of the use of bio-based plastics. After all, depending on the particular area of application, plastics based on renewable raw materials now boast the same product characteristics as conventional plastics and thus constitute a climate-friendly alternative. So that it can continue to exploit potential future applications, BeoPlast cooperates with various research institutions in the development of bio-based plastics.

Setting a good example

BeoPlast’s employees are also already benefitting in a variety of ways from their employer’s broad commitment to climate protection. For example, the company awards grants for the purchase of particularly energy-efficient household appliances and e-bikes. Inspired by their carbon neutral employer, around 25 per cent of the staff now buy green electricity for their own homes. This proportion is expected to rise even higher over the coming year.

To further improve its own on-site electricity generation, the company is planning the construction of a wind turbine on its premises. The process of balancing out its scope 3 emissions is being continued through compensatory measures. BeoPlast has thus formulated additional objectives with regard to climate protection and sustainability.

Photo: Klaus Voit. 

“Anyone who wants to run his company sustainably will find a way. Anyone who doesn’t want to looks for excuses.”

Theo Besgen, Managing Director