Veolia and Knauf Insulation announce multi-million pound investment in St. Helens

‘First of its kind’ glass facility will create new permanent jobs in local area

 ‘First of its kind’ glass facility will create new permanent jobs in local area

The UK’s leading mineral wool insulation manufacturer, Knauf Insulation, has entered into a long term contract with Veolia to support the construction of a state-of-the-art glass cullet processing facility, next to its manufacturing plant in St. Helens, Merseyside, UK. The plant will be constructed and operated by Veolia, the UK’s leading resource management company and Business in the Community’s Responsible Business of the Year, on land owned by Knauf Insulation.   

The £10m investment by Veolia will create 18 permanent jobs in St Helens and will provide Knauf Insulation with a stable supply of high quality recycled glass.
The new facility, due for completion later this year, will dry and refine tens of thousands of tonnes of glass into a ‘furnace ready’ cullet, a recycled standard of glass that has been cleaned and crushed into small fragments. The cullet is then fed into a furnace where it is melted and spun into glass mineral wool in order to manufacture energy saving insulation products.
John Sinfield, Managing Director at Knauf Insulation Northern Europe comments: “We are delighted to be working with Veolia on this project, which perfectly aligns our goals for sustainability and the circular economy. Given recent shortages impacting the construction sector, our customers can be reassured that we are working proactively upstream to further enhance the security of our supply. The construction of the new facility should also help grow the local economy in St Helens through the creation of new jobs and the use of local firms to carry out the relevant construction work”.
Estelle Brachlianoff, Senior Executive Vice-President at Veolia UK & Ireland, states: “We are delighted to be investing in the local economy and providing a closed loop solution for glass packaging from our Material Recovery Facilities including two we operate for Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority and the Merseyside and Halton District Councils. This will help save raw materials, lessen energy demand, cut CO2 emissions and reduce the amount of materials going to landfill. This facility will be the first of its kind in the UK and means everything from glass bottles to jam jars will be transformed into energy saving insulation products for houses, offices and other buildings.”

"We are delighted to be investing in the local economy and providing a closed loop solution for glass packaging from our Material Recovery Facilities..."

 Cllr Graham Morgan, Chair of Merseyside Recycling and Authority said: “The Authority is always working with its contractors to promote the circular economy in relation to the reuse and recycling of raw materials and this new facility is an excellent example of local solution that can reduce costs and the impact on the environment. We’re also pleased that Veolia’s investment has created 18 direct local jobs at the facility, and many more along the supply chain in the area.”
The furnace ready recycled glass produces less CO2 and replaces the need to use virgin raw materials from quarries. Furthermore, the process itself uses less energy than traditional methods of manufacturing mineral wool insulation, with the associated energy saving generated from recycling a single glass bottle equal to powering a 100-watt light bulb for almost an hour1.

1Environmental benefits of closed loop recycling