Putting circularity into our world

Anthony Abbotts, ROCKWOOL Group

Waste can be either managed or eliminated; find out how circularity is doing both with stone wool.

RockWorld imagery, The big picture, rock, stone,

Managing our consumption

The consumption of resources is something that can be lowered but will never go away, which is why it has become vital to manage this consumption for the sake of planetary health.

In a given year, the act of building homes, workplaces and other structures can require up to 42 billion tonnes of resource materials on a global scale. To make matters worse, the sectors that require these materials account for a third of global waste, which tends to end up in landfills all over the world.

What must be done to prevent this waste from mounting is a change in the process of how we create and handle waste. Luckily, there is a way to do so with the concept of circularity.

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Watch and learn how more and more waste is produced and ways to deal with it

Circularity leads to sustainability

A circular economy takes the waste and repurposes it to fit either the same job or a different job. This way, the used materials are put back into circulation. This keeps our environment clean and enhances overall sustainability.

Overall, circularity views waste as a valuable resource which can be on a road of perpetual reuse. As it currently stands, there may not be a greater example of repurposed materials than stone wool products.

One of the things that makes stone wool such a desirable material to work with is the fact that it comes from an unrelenting resource of natural Earth activity. Unlike non-renewable resources, which cannot be re-used, stone wool is made up of rocks that are reproduced via volcanic eruption and earthquake occurrences. Due to this frequency of re-production, there is plenty of opportunity to take advantage of a resource that continues to replenish itself. 

Although stone wool products are made from volcanic rock, one of the planet’s most abundant raw materials, ROCKWOOL also practices upcycling on an industrial scale. This is possible thanks to technologies that enable us to use waste from other industries as a raw material. On average, ROCKWOOL stone wool is made from one-third upcycled waste, including slag from the metal industry and sludge from water treatment plants. This means that rather than being sent to landfill, these low-value types of waste are used in producing stone wool insulation that makes buildings more comfortable and energy efficient.

Through products and materials such as these, generations to come will have a cleaner planet to work on and a better chance at becoming less dependent on resources that negatively impact our environment.

 

Sources:
1. ROCKWOOL, Sustainability Report 2017.
2. McKinsey & Co 2015 (Europe's circular economy opportunity).

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