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Knauf Insulation, Veolia open glass recycling facility in UK

PKBR Staff Writer Published 13 March 2018

Knauf Insulation, a manufacturer of insulation products in the US and Europe, and Veolia have inaugurated a new £10m glass recycling facility in St Helens, Merseyside, UK.

The plant, which has capacity to recycle over 60,000 tons of used glass bottles and jars annually, has been constructed by Veolia on land owned by Knauf Insulation.

Operated by Veolia, the facility is equipped with latest technology to dry and refine glass into a ‘furnace ready’ cullet, a recycled standard of glass is cleaned and crushed into small fragments.

Upon feeing into a furnace, the ultra-pure glass cullet is melted and spun into glass mineral wool in order to manufacture energy saving high performance insulation products.

The facility features machinery including vibrating screens for size sorting, magnets to extract ferrous materials and eddy current separators for non-ferrous materials.

Knauf Insulation Northern Europe managing director John Sinfield said: “Our insulation solutions play a key role in helping reduce carbon emissions and benefit the environment.

“We have been using recycled glass in our manufacturing process for some time already. As well as securing our glass supply, 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 in 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.”

The new facility provides Knauf Insulation with stable and secure high quality recycled glass for its insulation products. It also allows the firm to maximize the use of recycled materials instead of virgin minerals.

Veolia UK & Ireland senior executive vice-president Estelle Brachlianoff said: “We want to see this first-of-its kind partnership pave the way for others; where waste is seen as an indispensable commodity and given a completely new lease of life.

“It would be fantastic to see more key industry players follow Knauf Insulation and incorporate circular economy thinking into production.”