From Trash to Treasure: How Kingspan’s North American Plants are Diverting Waste from Landfills

Kingspan is on pace for a 30% reduction in waste sent to landfills by the end of the year at our five North America insulated metal panel manufacturing sites. These waste reduction efforts are part of Kingspan’s Planet Passionate initiative which includes a key circularity goal of zero waste to landfill by 2030.

You might ask, what happens to all the Kingspan waste diverted from landfills? The answer - a majority of this waste is being recycled and upcycled into new products. Here is a look at some of the ways Kingspan waste is being transformed from trash to treasure.

Kingspan partnered with Atlanta-based Belter Tech, a company that makes products containing up to 85% recycled content from post-consumer and post-industrial waste, to help recycle PIR (polyisocyanurate) foam waste. Picking up a tractor trailer load of this foam from Kingspan each week, Belter Tech uses the foam waste to make a variety of products including cement fill, ceiling tiles and panel products.

Kingspan PIR foam waste is chopped up by Belter Tech and added to a cementitious mix to make a strong, lightweight, fire retardant, and highly insulative fill. This cementitious binder can be used, for example, in floor construction, for fill around existing plumbing and for adding necessary fire protection to older buildings.

PIR foam waste also gets new life by being upcycled into ceiling tiles. Belter Tech uses this waste to create lightweight, durable tiles that provide acoustical and thermal insulation as well as moisture and mold resistance. The tiles can be used as a major component in any office building or high rise and even help increase building scores in LEED evaluations.

Additionally, Kingspan PIR foam waste is manufactured by Belter Tech into lightweight, fire-retardant panel board products that are currently being used by the film industry in Georgia.

Commenting on the partnership with Kingspan to transform PIR foam waste into new products, Gerald Hughes, Founder and CEO of Belter Tech said, “When Kingspan approached us about this partnership, it aligned perfectly with our core mission to bring sustainable products and solutions to the marketplace. Kingspan really is all about Planet Passionate and goes above and beyond, providing resources, information and really anything we need to help make this partnership a success.”

Other efforts to transform waste into usable products and resources include a short-term waste-to-energy program that turns mineral fiber panel scrap from Kingspan’s plant in Langley, British Columbia, into energy. Waste-to-energy programs like this generate cleaner renewable energy sources than fossil fuel, and cuts methane release from landfills. Kingspan is currently exploring other partnerships to find a more permanent solution for upcycling and recycling this mineral fiber panel waste stream.

Kingspan’s drive toward reaching zero waste targets also includes finding new life for old manufacturing equipment. Equipment no longer in operation at our Modesto Plant is being recycled into rebar for bridge projects across the Pacific Northwest while other parts of the equipment are being smelted and reused as seamless pipe in the semi-conductor industry.

These are just some of the ways we are purpose-driven to develop and implement circular solutions that reuse and recycle materials to minimize our waste footprint, conserve resources and reduce carbon emissions.

You can read about the progress of our ongoing waste reduction efforts as well as other strides we are making in driving energy and carbon out of our business operations and supply chain in our annual Planet Passionate Report.

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Term of the Day

Carbon Dioxide Equivalent (CO2e) is a method to compare various greenhouse gases based on their global warming potential. One metric ton of a greenhouse gas is converted to the equivalent number of metric tons of CO2 emissions with the same global warming potential.

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