THE MUNICIPALITY OF VENLO IS HIGHLY ENTREPRENEURIAL, SEES OPPORTUNITIES, AND IS ALSO HIGHLY INNOVATIVE
Looop is an independent (knowledge) partner for valorizing residual streams, also known as co-products. By valorizing organic co-products, Looop aims for a 100 percent circular world where waste does not exist. The Venlo-based company has been providing solutions for transporting and valorizing (liquid) co-products for over 35 years.
Looop finds new destinations for organic co-products in high-quality pet food and animal feed, as a substrate for insects, and for the generation of green energy.
Frank Lavrijsen, Paul Slits, and Dick Kroot lead Looop daily. "We commit to two Sustainable Development Goals," says Slits. "First, responsible consumption and production (SDG 12). We achieve this by reusing organic co-products. Second, achieving as many partnerships as possible (SDG 17). These can be our suppliers, but also parties like the municipality of Venlo, educational and knowledge institutions, and so on. To put it that way, we facilitate hundreds of 'loops' every day. It starts with collecting residual streams from suppliers/producers in industries such as food, beverage, fermentation, ethanol production, and biogas. We transport these residual streams to customers who then process them into high-quality ingredients for animal and livestock nutrition, as a renewable energy source, and for producing innovative bio-based products."
Collaboration is of great importance in terms of science, technology, and innovation. Sharing knowledge, expertise, technology, and financial resources is central. Slits particularly praise the role that the municipality of Venlo plays in this. "Our contacts are surprisingly good. They are highly entrepreneurial, see opportunities, and are also highly innovative. The municipality thinks in terms of opportunities, not limitations. If something is truly not possible, we hear about it quickly. But even that clarity is positive. As an entrepreneur, you at least know where you stand and can proceed with plan B." There are more organizations with which Looop collaborates to achieve their sustainability goals, as well as in developing new applications for the residual streams. Think of educational institutions like HAS, HAN, WUR and knowledge partners like LIOF and Brightlands. "So much is happening in the field of sustainability. Every company or organization strives to achieve its own goals in this area. This results in enormous investments. Collaboration is essential."
'Collaboration is extremely important in the fields of science, technology, and innovation'
24/7, food is produced, and inevitable residual streams are generated. Slits: "We must collect and reuse or upgrade these 24/7 through processing. If we don't do that, production stops, and a huge cost is incurred. We enter into a contract with the supplier in which we promise always to collect their co-products. Our task is to ensure that these co-products (such as potato peels) receive the highest value with the lowest possible CO2 footprint. This happens partly through direct transport; sometimes we store the co-products preserved in our transshipment location."
'The HR department must have knowledge of, among other things, German taxes, laws, insurance, cultural differences'
Planning, control, procurement, and sales
At Looop's headquarters in Venlo, supply and demand come together. They also ensure that everything is well organized and transported to the right place through logistical planning and a specialized fleet. Quality control, procurement, and sales also take place in Venlo. Looop also has a mixing and drying facility in other locations in the country. "Our customers want to know the nutritional values. They want to know what they can do with a product. We have about 150 products in our range, such as protein products, carbohydrates, and sugars. These high-quality co-products provide pets and livestock with the right nutrients needed for their growth and development. This builds a strong immune system. In short, a win-win situation where sustainability is central and serves both humans and animals."
'We have about 150 products in our range such as protein products, carbohydrates, sugars, etc'
Looop's trucks are on the road seven days a week (mainly in Northwest Europe) to transport the co-products. Looop valorizes about one and a half million tons annually. So, it's a successful business that has proven its value in terms of sustainability. "But we want to keep growing," Slits says. "That can only be achieved by collaborating even more, further and better digitizing, and finding even more applications for the residual streams. Looop is a company full of ambitious young people who have the same goal, a 100 percent circular world, with a lot of individual responsibility at the grassroots level in the organization. In fact, as management, we sometimes have to slow down our people. I have been active here for fifteen years now, but this company is really my life. We put all our energy and time into further growth."
Source: Ondernemend Venlo
Text: Rob Buchholz • Photography: Bram Becks