The shape of things to come

The looping project

Knauf Insulation’s pioneering new plant, pictured right, will revolutionise recycling in line with the company’s ambition to take back 25% of scrap generated from customers’ job sites by 2025.

Knauf Insulation has launched a pioneering new service to recycle Glass Mineral Wool waste backed by a new multi-million-euro recycling facility in Belgium.

The new Looping Project site based at Visé will recycle scrap Glass Mineral Wool from Knauf Insulation manufacturing plants, take back off-cuts from construction sites and recycle Glass Mineral Wool from demolished buildings.

Knauf Insulation’s Circular Economy Manager Marc Bosmans, who is overseeing the initiative, said: “Knauf Insulation’s sustainability strategy For A Better World commits the company to delivering a circular economy and sending zero waste to landfill. This plant is a multi-million-euro commitment that takes a step towards achieving these goals.

Marc Basman, Circual Economy Manager at Knauf

Historic moment for company

“The new site will reduce the environmental impact of the company’s products by using recycled Mineral Wool rather than virgin materials. This is a genuinely historic moment for Knauf Insulation and a game-changing project for the recycling of Glass Mineral Wool.”

Already the service is being marketed to Knauf Insulation plants ahead of the start of operations mid 2022.

The facility is described as a pilot plant because it offers Knauf Insulation the opportunity to carry out exploratory projects to gain insight into how to continuously improve the recycling process.

For example, Glass Mineral Wool is light density and it can be challenging to process, while Mineral Wool from demolition sites may need separating from bricks and plaster. The plant offers the opportunity to find the most effective solutions to managing challenges such as these.

Range of recycling solutions

Thomas Baguette, Knauf Insulation’s Glass Mineral Wool Recycling Business Developer, said: “It is essential that we completely understand every single facet of the recycling process to maximise every possibility. We will start with scrap from our Visé plant while increasingly adding scrap from construction and demolition sites.

“We are seeing an exciting new era for the recycling of waste Mineral Wool. The Looping Project in Visé paves the way for delivering a circular economy taking Mineral Wool that

has been saving energy and emissions for many years and recycling it for another energy-saving life cycle.”

The new facility is another welcome addition to Knauf Insulation’s pioneering circular economy initiatives.

For instance, in the UK we partnered with waste management company Veolia to build a facility that refines up to 60,000 tonnes of used glass every year into the raw material we need for our insulation and in Stupino, Russia, we set up used collection points to provide used glass to our local plant. In Germany we have introduced a pioneering new programme for Mineral Wool.

 

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Thomas Baguette quote

Winning idea reduces paint waste at Simbach plant

As part of our For A Better World sustainability strategy we set aside a substantial part of our general CAPEX to fund more projects that deliver carbon reductions or cut waste.

Our Simbach site in Germany was awarded funding for a waste separation initiative that reduces waste paint by more than 95%.

Paint waste had increased as demand for out painted Heraklith Wood Wool boards soared. Now following the introduction of the separation process, splitting agents separate the waste into two elements - water and dried paint.

The water can be disposed of in the sewer while the dried paint residue can be landfilled. The residue makes up only 5% of the previous amount of paint waste that was landfilled. 

A second implemented initiative involved replacing compressors at Simbach. Two highly efficient centralised compressors will now replace five high maintenance, low efficiency compressors in three different locations reducing energy use and CO2 emissions in the process.

 

Header photo: Work gets underway on the Looping Project which will recycle scrap Glass Mineral Wool from Knauf Insulation plants as well as construction and demolition sites

 

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Enjoy our Annual Review 2021