From Pipes to Plants: Pipelife Bulgaria’s Production Site Goes Green

12. May 2023 | 5 min read

Pipelife Bulgaria is known for its top-quality piping solutions; however, you might be surprised to find out that the company’s employees also boast green fingers and a genuine passion for nature. Over the last year, this fondness has grown into a one-hectare orchard next to the production site in Botevgrad, as well as multiple social and educational events devoted to the topics of sustainability and biodiversity.

A fruit tree with pink flowers against a background of blue sky | Pipelife

Protecting Local Wildlife

The production site of Pipelife Bulgaria is situated in a scenic valley region north of Stara Planina mountain. Although the plant itself lies in the industrial part of Botevgrad town, a surprising variety of local flora and fauna can be found in its proximity.

Last year, a baseline monitoring was carried out at the site, starting targeted biodiversity initiatives at Pipelife Bulgaria. The monitoring, performed by an independent expert, allowed for detecting the many species that live near the production site and identifying the best conservation measures.

Two employees are planting a young apple tree at the Botevgrad plant with several Pipelife's products visible at the background | Pipelife
An insect hotel made from Pipelife and Wienerberger products set up in a lawn next Pipelife's plant in Botevgrad | Pipelife

Joint Effort for a Green Cause

As Pipelife Bulgaria is currently extending its production facilities and building an open storage space, it was also crucial to further widen the biodiverse zones surrounding the plant. A national regulation in Bulgaria requires for 20% of the total area in industrial settings to be devoted to greenspaces. Out of the entire green zone, one-third must be covered by perennial plants and vegetation and one-third by trees.

After devising a multi-step biodiversity action plan for the production site, Pipelife Bulgaria’s team was keen on turning it into reality. Last autumn, they planted 156 new trees in an area of approximately 10 000 m2. Both coniferous and deciduous trees were planted, and the exact species were selected by the experts that had visited the factory earlier that year. Local varieties of fruit trees were also included in the mix, marking the beginning of Pipelife Bulgaria’s own orchard.

Giving home to more than 150 trees might seem laborious had it not coincided with the annual meetup of the Wienerberger group employees in Bulgaria. Last year’s meeting took place in Botevgrad and resulted in networking, strategic decisions, and some elbow grease.

Besides tree planting, the participants made insect hotels for the new orchard. They combined various materials with smooth inner surfaces and different diameters to accommodate a wide range of critters. The products from Pipelife, Wienerberger and Semmelrock stocks were selected to ensure the durability of the newly-built insect houses as well as the protection of the tenants from wind and rain.

Pipelife Bulgaria's team gathered in front of the plant and listening to a lecturer | Pipelife
A white round desk with Pipelife logo and several photos of common butterfly species on it | Pipelife

A Reason to Celebrate

Another sustainability event at Botevgrad took place this spring when Pipelife Bulgaria held educational activities and workshops devoted to Earth Day. The plant employees gathered in the orchard to learn more about fauna monitoring, the different bird and insect species that can be observed in the region as well as the importance of preserving biodiversity. Special attention was given to the status of local pollinator populations and ways to protect their habitats.

The Earth Day celebration was also important to inform and engage the employees in the follow-up biodiversity monitoring that will be recurrently performed at the plant.

Bilyana Yotova, Biodiversity Ambassador at Pipelife Bulgaria, planned and organized the well-attended event.

“According to our corporate Biodiversity Action Plan, we will perform monitoring 2-3 times a year, registering the species observed on the plant territory,” she explains. “We wanted to raise awareness of this process among our colleagues and get them involved. Earth Day offered a perfect opportunity.”

The workshops and activities carried out throughout the day resonated with the many employees of the plant. Many of them have been involved in the biodiversity actions already implemented, and even more are willing to join the next ones.

“By celebrating Earth Day, we highlighted the importance and the practical ways of preserving nature and the variety of local plants and animals for the next generations,” says Stanislav Staynov, Plant Manager at Botevgrad.

“Let’s take care of nature now so that it can take care of us in the future!” adds Viktoria Lazarova, Lean Transformation leader at Pipelife Bulgaria.

Several young blooming apple trees growing next to Pipelife Bulgaria's plant in Botevgrad | Pipelife

New Biodiversity Opportunities Ahead

The implementation of biodiversity initiatives at Pipelife Bulgaria still continues. This year, more trees and shrubs will be planted, greening the recently built open storage area. Increasing biodiversity in the yard zone and additional outdoor facilities for employees are also in the plans.

Alongside the numerous trees and bushes planted at Botevgrad, the excitement about this green change is growing, too. And this excitement is shared by the whole Pipelife Bulgaria’s team.

Alongside circular economy and climate protection, biodiversity is integral to Pipelife’s self-imposed ESG goals and sustainability strategy. As part of the Wienerberger group, Pipelife has been participating in the corporate Biodiversity Program since its beginning in 2021. The program envisions a tailored Biodiversity Action Plan set up and implemented at all Pipelife production sites.

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