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Wed June 16 2021

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Insulation firm eliminates landfill waste

31 Jul 13 Building materials producer Knauf Insulation reports that it has reached its target of eliminating waste sent to landfill at all four of its UK manufacturing plants.

Knauf waste is used to make ceiling tiles
Knauf waste is used to make ceiling tiles

At its glass mineral wool sites in St Helens and Cwmbran, Knauf Insulation has introduced measures to divert both production and office-generated waste. Baled glass wool waste is re-used by a ceiling tile manufacturer, while mixed glass wool and incidental packaging waste is collected by a recycling firm and re-processed for use as underground bedding.

Other waste is segregated at source, with recycling bins around the offices, desktop recycling folders and skips for cardboard and polythene have been distributed throughout the facilities, so that the waste can then be collected and recycled.

At its rock mineral wool plant in Queensferry, Knauf Insulation has worked with industrial partners to take its waste as a raw material.  Initially this was achieved using the National Industrial Symbiosis Program), however after this was disbanded in Wales in 2011, Knauf Insulation struck a new partnership with a waste provider and has continued its work to drive down waste to landfill, recycling and reusing waste. Baled rock mineral wool is sent for use in ceiling tile manufacture. 

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Knauf Insulation has also built its own recycling facility, which enables any excess material to be fed back into the manufacturing process.  In addition to this, agreements have been reached with key customers to return their waste so it can be re-used, improving the life-cycle performance of Knauf Insulation’s products.

At the extruded polystyrene (XPS) facility in Hartlepool, all manufacturing waste is recycled back into the production process, while general and kitchen waste is collected by a recycling and waste management partner company.  A local community interest company collects waste materials such as cardboard and reuses them as low cost arts and craft resources for community centres, colleges and schools.

Kevin West, health, safety, security and environmental manager at the St Helen’s plant, said: “True sustainability is about much more than simply producing ‘green’ products – it must be an integral part of the business, which is what we have sought to accomplish with our waste management strategy. Reaching zero waste to landfill is a fantastic achievement and is a clear demonstration of Knauf Insulation’s commitment to improving our environmental performance.”

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