Rockwool produces stone wool products for insulation. The production process of Rockwool stone wool offers an opportunity for recycling end of life materials from other industries. Every year Rockwool is handling more than 800.000 tons of end-of-life materials. In order to use it in the production of new stone wool, the materials are exposed by very high temperatures. The end-of-life materials are together with new materials (stone, limestone etc.) spun into new stone wool fibers. Thereby a Rockwool product contains 37% recycled materials. Furthermore, the excess heat from the production is used to heat households in the nearby village. Finally, there is a sulfur residue from the flue gas cleaning in Rockwool. Another company uses the sulfur residue for desulphurization – the residue from that process is plaster. A third company uses the plaster for production of plasterboards.
Rockwool has a take-back system for their used products. This helps fulfill the requirements of the EU directive on waste requiring that by 2020 70% of construction waste must be recovered or recycled. When Rockwool is recycling waste, it helps solving a waste disposal problem and cuts down on the use of virgin raw materials. It also strengthens Rockwool’s profile as environmentally friendly and conscious.
Rockwool is continuously measuring their impacts on the environment in order to follow the progress in the environmental work. Since 2012 Rockwool has reduced their own waste generation by 50%. Rockwool has increased the use of residue from other industries from 500.000 in 2012 to 800.000 in 2015. Furthermore, they increase the recycling of their own products and packaging44.