Waste and Water Emissions

Knauf Insulation has dramatically reduced the amount of waste it sends to landfill by nearly 50% in the space of just five years. This success is being fuelled by reductions in the amount of Glass Mineral Wool (GMW) waste sent to landfill, which has been cut by more than half since the 2010 baseline. As for water discharge, we have seen a reduction of 23.3% compared to our baseline year, 2010.


Recent highlights 

  • In 2012 we introduced a central data collection system that improved the monitoring of waste. 
  • In the UK, Knauf Insulation’s four plants at St Helens, Cwmbran, Queensferry and Hartlepool have not been sending any waste to landfill since mid-2013.
  • Since 2015, Knauf Insulation is separating the different elements of its multi-layer Wood Wool boards so that they can be recycled and reused.
  • We have invested significantly in technologies across the company that help re-use our scrap Glass Mineral Wool, reducing waste to landfill.
  • We are able to crush waste from the Rock Mineral Wool process into ‘briquettes’ for reuse. 
  • Recycling, waste reduction and water efficiency became part of our global Sustainable Workplace Initiative in 2013.


Waste management system

Knauf Insulation follows the important International Management Standards for Sustainability. We are certified by one of the leading conformity assessment organisations, Bureau Veritas.

  • ISO 14001 (Environmental Management) for all our Europe, Russia and CIS Plants,
  • ISO 9001 (Quality Management) for all our Europe, Russia and CIS Plants,
  • ISO 50001 (Energy Management) for all our Europe, Russia and CIS Plants,
  • OHSAS18001 (Health and Safety Management) for all our Europe, Russia and CIS Plants.


Case study


Reuse and recycling in Wood Wool

Knauf Insulation is cutting out waste from its multi-layer Wood Wool boards. The boards are composed of different layers such as EPS, Rock Mineral Wool and Wood Wool. If they were damaged they used to go to landfill. But now, rather than sending them to landfill Knauf Insulation is separating the different elements so that the boards can be recycled and reused. The wood is being used internally at Knauf Insulation and the EPS is being returned to original supply companies for reuse. The programme marks an important step in the creation of the circular economy at Knauf Insulation. “We have launched the EPS and Wood Wool separation programme at Simbach in Germany which is our biggest plant in terms of output,” says Joachim. “With multi-layer boards featuring Rock Mineral Wool we are also removing the Wood Wool and reusing it. Our plants at St Egidien in Germany and Škofja Loka in Slovenia have agreed to take back the Rock Mineral Wool and are also feeding the material back into their production processes.”


Motorways, tiles and circular economies

Knauf Insulation is constantly on the lookout for new ways to recycle its waste. In the UK bales of compressed Glass Mineral Wool waste are used in the construction of road foundations, across the company, this waste is also used to create ceiling tiles. There are also experiments in recycling insulation that is removed from demolished buildings – the ultimate example of a circular economy where at the end of a product’s life it returns to be recycled.  

For more information, read our latest article on Waste from the Sustainability Report 2015:

Click here to read how Knauf Insulations has slashed landfill waste by nearly 50% in four years: