In January, Paroc, Lassila & Tikanoja and Eko-Expert will become the first companies in Finland to launch a recycling system for stone wool. The REWOOL system will allow the off-cuts of stone wool produced by the construction industry and building sites to become efficiently reused. Recycling the off-cuts saves money and the environment and supports the construction industry's goal of carbon neutrality.
In January 2020, the construction industry will take a major step towards a circular economy, when the stone wool recycling system, created by Paroc, Lassila & Tikanoja and Eko-Expert, becomes available for everyone expressing an interest.
Stone wool is used as an insulating material in construction. Discarding the off-cuts of stone wool in landfill is an environmental burden and a cost in the form of waste charges for companies.
Paroc's Application Manager Susanna Tykkä-Vedder tells that customers have been hoping for and expecting a recycling system. "We are driven by voluntary producer responsibility and the desire to build a sustainable future. By ensuring that wool does not end up in mixed waste, we also respond to our customers' wishes."
Paroc has provided wool recycling opportunities to the construction industry in the past too, but now, with the cooperation agreement drawn with Eko-Expert and L&T, the entire recycling chain will become more efficient and environmentally friendly.
During the one-year pilot, the project has collected user experiences on the right kinds of collection bins and practised procedures. The recycling system is ready for wider use in January 2020.
The easy-to-use system saves time and the environment
According to L&T's Customer Accounts Manager Jari Heino, the new system is extremely easy to use. "When a construction company wants a wool recycling system for its building site, it is often the case of making just one phone call."
In practice, the off-cuts are sorted at their place of origin where they are placed in recycling bins. After that, they are taken to Eko-Expert, which produces clean blown-in insulation out of the recycled material.
L&T has a service network and existing tools for efficiently organising the pick-up. Customers can choose to either buy or rent the sacks, bins, presses or balers used for the recycling from L&T's selection.
Furthermore, it is also important to increase the construction industry's recycling rate because of the tightening environmental legislation. According to the EU Waste Directive, the member states must recycle 70 % of their construction waste as material in 2020. As the recycling opportunities for stone wool improve, it is easier for companies to fulfil their legislative obligations.
"Recycling the wool is a real win-win for construction and the industry in general: everyone increases their recycling rate and decreases their costs. This is the circular economy in operation on practical level. As the environmental load of properties' building phase goes down, it becomes easier for them to strive for the green construction LEED and BREEAM certificates," CEO Ilari Hirvensalo at Eko-Expert notes.