Kingspan sets sail on plan to recycle 1bn plastic bottles per year by 2025

22 Mar 2019456 Views

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From left: Mike Stenson, head of innovation at Kingspan, with Javier Goyeneche, founder of the Ecoalf foundation. Image: Kingspan

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Three-year partnership agreed with Ecoalf aims to take 150m tonnes of waste from the Mediterranean each year.

Irish building materials company Kingspan has committed to a target of recycling 1bn plastic bottles annually – many of them retrieved from the oceans – by 2025.

The company, headquartered in Kingscourt, Cavan, has committed to recycling 500m bottles a year by 2023 as an interim target and will use the recycled material in its low-carbon building insulation.

‘With the construction industry contributing 30pc 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’
– GENE MURTAGH

The company is already manufacturing insulation products using recycled plastic but from now on will be adding recovered ocean plastic to this manufacturing chain, made with raw materials from its plant near Barcelona, Spain.

This plant already recycles 250m bottles each year and has set an ambitious target to quadruple this over six years.

Kingspan has committed to operate as a net zero energy (NZE) business by 2020. Since making the commitment in 2011 it has revealed that it was at 75pc NZE by 2018.

Cleaning the oceans

“We take our sustainability commitments very seriously at Kingspan,” said CEO Gene Murtagh. “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 30pc 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.”

To achieve this target, the company has partnered with the Ecoalf foundation. In the 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.

The building materials firm will reuse as much of the ocean plastic recovered as it can in its production.

“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,” said Javier Goyeneche, founder of the Ecoalf foundation.

“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.”

Updated, 9.41am, 22 March 2019: This article was updated to clarify that Kingspan aims to recycle 1bn plastic bottles annually by 2025. 

John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist who served as editor of Siliconrepublic.com for 17 years.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com