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New Knauf Insulation-Veolia partnership transforms 350 million waste bottles into insulation every year

By Laura Croze
May 24, 2018

More than 60,000 tonnes of used glass bottles and jars will be transformed into energy-saving insulation every year following the opening of a new recycling facility next door to our UK St Helens plant.

The €12 million facility, a joint project between Knauf Insulation and resource management company Veolia, will annually save the equivalent of 350 million bottles from being wasted while maximising our use of recycled glass rather than virgin materials. Additionally, the facility created 18 new jobs and saves an estimated 375,000 miles in material transportation.

The new facility demonstrates our commitment to the circular economy — closing the lifecycle loop between sourcing materials and reusing waste for our insulation solutions — as well as ensuring better quality recycled glass for our products.

Circular economy infographic May2018_0.jpg

The Veolia recycling facility uses the latest technology such as sophisticated vibrating size-sorting screens and state-of-the-art magnets and separators to remove ferrous and non-ferrous material to create the ultra-pure glass cullet we need for our insulation.

John Sinfield, our Managing Director at Knauf Insulation Northern Europe, said: “We have been using recycled glass in our manufacturing process for some time already. However, the quality and consistency that we are getting now from the new facility will enable us to increase further the percentage of glass cullet we use in the manufacture of our Glass Mineral Wool insulation solutions, taking us one step further on our sustainability journey.

“This is also a real boost for the circular economy and the fact we have delivered this in partnership with Veolia demonstrates what can be achieved when two leaders in their respective fields work together to achieve mutual goals.”

Estelle Brachlianoff, Senior Executive Vice-President at Veolia UK & Ireland said: “This innovative new facility is a major investment in the UK green economy which is good for jobs, good for the community and good for the planet. Knauf Insulation is setting the standard for other manufacturers to follow.

“We want this first-of-its kind partnership to pave the way for others. It would be fantastic to see more key industry players follow Knauf Insulation and incorporate circular economy thinking into production.”

A video explaining how the new partnership is contributing to the circular economy is available here.