News

Knauf Insulation’s innovative solutions for better resource use
By Laura Croze on June 07, 2018

Knauf Insulation is pioneering new and exciting ways to recycle construction, manufacturing and domestic waste. We’re transforming waste into new products.

“The building and construction sector uses half of all new resources and generates more than a third of all waste in the European Union,” says Jean-Pierre Pigeolet, our Products & Buildings Sustainability Manager.

“It is vital that our industry focuses on better resource management because the present situation is quite unsustainable.

“At Knauf Insulation we are working with customers to find new ways to use secondary materials to pave the way for a more ambitious approach to resource use that we hope in the future will involve treating buildings as materials banks.”

Here are five ways we’re contributing to circular economy

1.‘Downcycling’

This year we have been supporting De Groot Vroomshoop, a Dutch prefabricated building company, with the recycling of waste insulation off-cuts.

Rather than sending this material to expensive landfill sites, it is compressed, valorised and ‘downcycled’ into new secondary material insulation as a filler for bricks for insulation.

2. Making an ‘eco-sandwich’

In Croatia we supported a new wall system known as ECO-SANDWICH, which has been a developed by Zagreb’s Civil Engineering Facility.

The pre-fabricated wall panel uses recycled construction and demolition waste as well as our Mineral Wool with ECOSE® Technology. It has already been installed in social homes.

3. Compressing

Secondary materials from our Glass Mineral Wool plants are being compressed, baled and valorised for use by German ceiling tile manufacturer AMF.

4. From skips to social housing

In New Zealand we recently supported a project to reuse old insulation. We removed insulation from waste skips outside renovated houses, and reinstalled it in an Auckland social housing home.

5. Transforming glass bottles

Perhaps our most dramatic recycling project has been the partnership with the resource management company Veolia in the UK. This has seen the opening of a new glass recycling facility next to our St Helens plant.

The Veolia facility is now transforming 350 million waste bottles into energy-saving insulation every year.

This facility highlights a key aspect of our manufacturing process. At Knauf Insulation our Glass Mineral Wool is made up of 80% recycled household glass.

At our Rock Mineral Wool plants, up to quarter of the raw materials used are constituted or recycled slag.

Aspiring to a circular economy

“In an ideal circular economy every element of a demolished or renovated building — from their bricks, windows and doors to their cables, plumbing and insulation — would be reused, while any waste generated from construction would be fed back into a manufacturing process rather than sent to landfill,” says Jean-Pierre.

“Of course, this is a highly ambitious vision, but it is a vision we have to aspire to.”

Get your free guide to removing waste Mineral Wool

Mineral Wool has been proven to maintain its energy-saving power — even after 55 years of use.

With the European Insulation Manufacturers Association we have produced a video and guide to the effective removal of insulation for recycling or reuse.

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