European Week for Waste Reduction: What role can we play?

22 November 2019 Kingspan Group
European Week for Waste Reduction (EWWR)
This week, companies, governments and industry stakeholders from across Europe will be participating in European Week for Waste Reduction (EWWR)1, raising awareness about the importance of sustainable resource and waste management.
According to the World Bank, global waste is expected to increase by 70% by 2050, by which time we are predicted to be generating 3.40 billion tonnes of waste every year.Time is critical and fast running out to address this issue.
At present, 70-80% of global construction industry waste is discarded to landfill. It’s clear there is an urgent need for the construction industry to address its own contribution by significantly reducing waste and finding ways to reuse or recycle as much material as possible.3
Kingspan is dedicated to contributing to the circular economy and helping to provide solutions for waste reduction through waste management in our business, together with re-use and recycling initiatives for our products. A number of the initiatives we already have in place align with the goals of EWWR to ‘reduce waste, reuse products and recycle material’. These sit at the core of our goals as a company.
Reduce, reuse and recycle
In alignment with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, Kingspan believes that re-use is the first priority in any circularity strategy. A number of our products lend themselves particularly well to being re-used, such as our insulated panels which are modular and so can be disassembled and then used again for other functions and applications.
At Kingspan, we already have a number of working examples that show our products can be re-used in other applications at end of life, and one of the key aims of our new innovation centre IKON is to broaden their end-to-end re-use and recyclability. We firmly believe that true circularity in construction will only be achieved with systemic industry change and are committed to working with the industry to be part of this transformation.
Recycling is also an important contributor to a more circular economy. It has the potential to reduce the amount of waste sitting in landfills and use the limited resources of our planet more efficiently.
In 2018 we upcycled 256 million PET bottles from consumer waste into raw materials, which have been used to produce our insulation. Furthermore, we can also upcycle mixed colour PET, which not everyone is capable of doing. The goal for us is to upcycle one billion PET bottles each year into our insulation products by 2025.
In addition, Kingspan has partnered with the EcoAlf Foundation, which runs an ocean clean-up project in Spain. Out of the 150 tonnes of waste that EcoAlf removes from the Spanish oceans every year, 10% of that is PET, which we then also upcycle into our insulation.
As a global manufacturer, we are keenly aware of our responsibilities and offer site waste takeback schemes in the UK.
Waste is a critical global problem. It is key that companies, governments and individuals act now in order to help reduce waste as much as possible through recycling and upcycling to prevent further pollution and the increase in landfills. The construction industry must also play its part in addressing this critical issue and we are committed to be part of that change.
1The core aim of EWWR is to ‘reduce waste, reuse products and recycle material.’ offering businesses and individual citizens the opportunity to highlight the work that they are doing around waste reduction. EWWR also provides a wide range of tools that can be used to help implement effective policies and actions.

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