The North American Insulation Manufacturers Association’s survey of its members’ use of pre- and post-consumer recycled materials in insulation products in 2012 found that US manufacturers used almost 1.6 billion pounds of recycled glass in the production of residential, commercial, industrial, and air handling thermal and acoustical insulation.
Manufacturers estimate they will use more than 1.7 billion pounds in 2013. NAIMA Canada members together used nearly 300 million pounds of recycled glass in the production of residential, commercial, industrial, and air handling thermal and acoustical insulation.
US and Canadian facilities used more than 474 million pounds of recycled blast furnace slag in the production of thermal and acoustical insulation. Since the Industry’s recycling program began in 1992, NAIMA members’ plants have diverted over 43.8 billion pounds of recycled materials from the waste stream, NAIMA says.
“NAIMA members are committed to promoting sustainability by using recycled materials to produce energy-saving insulation products that improve a building’s energy efficiency and reduce environmental impact,” says Kate Offringa, president and CEO of NAIMA.
Fiberglass, rock wool, and slag wool (pictured) insulations use a high percentage of recycled material, according to NAIMA. Today’s fiber glass insulation can contain upwards of 70% recycled glass, but on average will typically contain 50% recycled glass. Slag wool insulation can contain up to 90% recycled content, but on average, uses approximately 70% blast furnace slag.
Using recycled materials in the manufacture of insulation prevents depletion of natural resources and reduces the amount of materials in the solid waste stream, NAIMA says.