In 2017 we entered into a long term contract with leading resource management company, Veolia, to create a state-of-the-art glass cullet processing facility, next to our manufacturing plant in St. Helens, Merseyside, UK.
Now operating to its full capacity, the facility gives yearly a new lease of life to over 60,000 tonnes of used glass bottles and jars collected from households, as it cleans, separates and refines it into high purity raw materials to be used in the manufacturing of our high performance, energy-saving insulation solutions.
Continuously striving to make the world a better place
See our latest video to learn more about how we are setting the standards for mainstream recycling and paving the way in the area of circular economy.
John Sinfield: Managing Director explains the importance of Knauf Insulation's partnership with Veolia. "The partnership with Veolia is really important as it’s a statement of intent to the group to work with a supplier with the quality and scope of Veolia. It’s also important because we’ve got a good, solid, stable raw material supply which gives Knauf the comfort to go into the market and to build and service our customers adequately. From a business perspective, it means that the quality of the cullet coming in supports the process and delivers the best results as we melt and spin the fibres."
Richard Kirkman: Chief Technical and Innovation Officer explains Veolia's partnership with Knauf Insulation as part of the mainstream circular economy. "Veolia’s job is to resource the world and they work in the fields of water, waste and energy to do that, but they can’t do it alone, they need to work with the industry and have partnerships to provide materials to them. This project is taking recycling to a whole new level. It is an investment of 10 million pounds in order to deliver a real feed stock the industry can use which is scalable and also mainstream, rather than having recycling as a niche and bringing it to a real industrial level".
Mike Gabriel: Operations Director explains the quality of our raw materials supply with Veolia. "Historically, the consistency of the quality of the cullet that we were buying was very difficult to predict. The beauty of this facility is that it produces very high quality cullet, up to 98/99% purity. Knauf Insulation are trying to use as much recycled material in the manufacturing process and this facility provides a terrific opportunity to increase the amount of recycled material that we use in our products. Veolia are much more than just recycles of waste and we believe that there are other opportunities to develop partnership in other areas of the business also".
John Sinfield: Managing Director talks about Knauf Insulation's sustainability journey with Veolia. "From a sustainability point of view, the partnership is great as we’re taking raw material waste which would otherwise go to landfill or other applications. We’re then turning it into a product which saves energy and improves the quality of people’s lives by keeping them warm in winter and cool during the summer. We're probably the largest procurer of mixed cullet in the UK because we can take any colour into our process, so we’re taking materials and reusing them to turn them into an energy saving product".
Richard Kirkman: Chief Technical and Innovation Officer talks about Veolia and Knauf Insulation's partnership bringing scalable sustainability. "This partnership is proving that the industry can move to sustainable feed stocks and find alternatives to virgin raw materials. This project is for glass and Veolia may now be able to produce for plastic, and they already produce it in the field for fibres, papers and other minerals. This means that Veolia can scale it, duplicate it and make it the mainstay of what the UK does. Our aim is to duplicate this type of process and it gives confidence to invest again and potentially work with Knauf Insulation in the future".
Mike Gabriel: Operations Director highlights the recycling benefits of Knauf Insulation's partnership with Veolia. "If you look at industrial manufacturing on this kind of scale, businesses like Knauf Insulation are very often buying raw materials from the tertiary sector. Invariably, those kind of suppliers are usually quite dominant but to be able to say that up to 80% of our raw materials are from an arrangement which is as collaborative as that with Veolia is unique. The fact that the project is located close to our own manufacturing facility also gives us terrific carbon reduction benefits. 375,000 miles of road haulage will be avoided by having the facility located next to us here in St Helens".