Veolia opens St Helens glass recycling facility

Veolia and Knauf Insulation, have officially opened a new ‘high-tech’ glass recycling facility in St Helens, which will reprocess glass fines to use in insulation.

Each year, over 60,000 tonnes of used glass bottles and jars will be cleaned, separated and refined, before being turned insulation solutions, the companies said.

The facility will treat around 60,000 tonnes of glass each year

The facility uses the latest technology to sort and separate glass, delivering glass cullet, according to Veolia. The machinery includes vibrating screens for size sorting, magnets to extract ferrous materials and eddy current separators for non-ferrous materials.

The new facility enables Knauf Insulation – which provides insulation solutions to the building industry – to secure its glass supply and maximise the use of recycled materials instead of virgin minerals. Also, the proximity of the new facility will save approximately 375,000 miles of road journeys, Veolia said.

Investment

The glass collected equates to over 350 million bottles thrown out yearly. The £10 million investment has helped to create 18 jobs in St Helens.

Commenting on the new facility, Estelle Brachlianoff, senior executive vice-president at Veolia UK & Ireland, said: “This innovative new facility is a £10 million investment in the UK green economy which is good for jobs, good for the community and good for the planet.

“To see our site officially open today is a vote of confidence in our technology and the quality of cullet we produce – and by using a significant amount of this glass in its manufacturing process, Knauf Insulation is setting the standard for other manufacturers to follow – making use of recycled material mainstream rather than niche.

“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.”

Sustainability

The £10 million investment in the facility has helped to create 18 jobs

John Sinfield, managing director at Knauf Insulation Northern Europe, added: “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.”

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Veolia
Knauf Insulation

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