Kingspan has committed to recycling 500 million plastic bottles each year by 2023 for use in its insulation with a further target of one billion bottles each year by 2025. This recycling initiative is part of a broader Kingspan programme, together with the company’s 2020 Net Zero Energy manufacturing target, to produce its energy-saving products in a low carbon and environmentally responsible way.
Kingspan is already manufacturing insulation using recycled plastic but will now be adding recovered ocean plastic to this manufacturing chain, made with raw materials from its plant near Barcelona, Spain. This plant already recycles 250 million bottles each year and has set an ambitious target to quadruple this over six years.
To achieve this target, Kingspan has partnered with the EcoAlf Foundation and under a three-year partnership, the company will proactively help to remove up to 150 tonnes of waste from the Mediterranean each year through the EcoAlf Foundation’s network of fishermen. Kingspan will reuse as much of the ocean plastic recovered as it can in its production.
Using recycled plastic bottles helps prevent them from ending up in landfill, or worse in the oceans. Currently only 9% of the plastic ever made in the world has been recycled, and according to the United Nations Environment Programme, more than eight million tonnes of plastic ends up in the ocean each year – equivalent to dumping a rubbish truck of plastic every minute.
Commenting on the initiative, Gene Murtagh, CEO of Kingspan Group said: “We take our sustainability commitments very seriously at Kingspan. Today’s announcement, part of the Planet Passionate commitment in Kingspan’s sustainability plan, forms part of a longer-term strategy we are developing around supporting the circular economy and increasing our use of recycled materials. With the construction industry contributing 30% of all the global waste that goes into landfill it is vital that we at Kingspan find responsible ways to reduce waste at all points in the supply chain.”
Javier Goyeneche, founder of the EcoAlf Foundation said: “We are excited to have formed this partnership with Kingspan, which will help us expand our initiative to clean the oceans. Kingspan is an ideal partner because they can help us close the loop by using large volumes of the materials we recover from the seas in their products. But even more importantly we want partners who share our values of wanting to make the planet a cleaner and more sustainable place and we look forward to working together with Kingspan in this spirit.”
Today’s announcement complements Kingspan’s previous sustainability initiatives, including its commitment to operate as a Net Zero Energy (NZE) business by 2020. Despite almost doubling its size since making the commitment in 2011, Kingspan is on track to reach this target, and was at 75% NZE in 2018.