Jobs boost as manufacturer invests £10m in St Helens plant

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Insulation manufacturer Knauf has made a multi-million pound investment in its St Helens plant - creating 18 new jobs.

The company, which makes mineral wool insulation, has entered into a long-term contract with commercial recycling firm, Veolia.

The funding will be made to the firm’s glass cullet processing facility, which neighbours its St Helens manufacturing plant.

And bosses have announced the new deal with create 18 jobs at the plant.

It will see Veolia clean, dry and refine tens of thousands of tonnes of recycled glass, to be used by Knauf Insulation in the production of its energy saving insulation products.

The crushed glass “cullet” will be melted and spun into the glass mineral wool products it sells to some of the UK’s biggest housebuilders and construction firms.

John Sinfield, managing director at Knauf Insulation Northern Europe, said: “The construction of the new facility will help grow the St Helens’ economy by creating permanent jobs and using local firms to complete its construction.

“Working with Veolia on this investment perfectly aligns with our goals for improving the efficiency and sustainability of our processes.

“And, given recent building product shortages impacting the construction sector, the announcement also highlights our commitment to proactively working to safeguard our supply.”

Estelle Brachlianoff, senior executive vice-president at Veolia UK and Ireland, said: “We are delighted to be investing in the local economy and providing a closed loop solution for glass packaging from our Material Recovery Facilities including two we operate for Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority and the Merseyside and Halton District Councils.

“This will help save raw materials, lessen energy demand, cut CO2 emissions and reduce the amount of materials going to landfill.

“This facility will be the first of its kind in the UK and means everything from glass bottles to jam jars will be transformed into energy saving insulation products for houses, offices and other buildings.”

Coun Graham Morgan, chairman of Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority, said: “The authority is always working with its contractors to promote the circular economy in relation to the reuse and recycling of raw materials, and this new facility is an excellent example of local solutions that can reduce costs and the impact on the environment.

“We’re also pleased that Veolia’s investment has created 18 direct local jobs at the facility, and many more along the supply chain in the area.”

The process of using glass cullet uses less energy than traditional methods of manufacturing mineral wool insulation, with the associated energy saving generated from recycling a single glass bottle equal to powering a 100-watt light bulb for almost an hour.