Today is April 22nd, which means that for over half a century now, millions of people from across the globe and all walks of life have famously joined together to help advance sustainability and climate action in commemoration of Earth Day. This year’s theme, “Invest in Our Planet,” highlights the importance of dedicating our time, energy and resources to help combat climate change and other environmental issues. Together, we can create the change needed to support a greener and more sustainable future for generations to come.
At Grodan, we have a head start on this initiative. Our parent company, ROCKWOOL, was recognized as the 16th most sustainable company in the world in 2023, by Corporate Knights Global 100. We turn the Earth’s most abundant, natural raw material—stone—and upcycled secondary materials into a range of long-lasting stone wool products. Although the production process for stone wool is energy-intensive, it’s used to increase energy efficiency in a variety of industries from building materials to cannabis.
In fact, stone wool conserves 100 times the energy and CO2 used during its production over its lifespan as an energy and acoustic insulation material, water management product and horticultural growing medium. But perhaps best of all, stone wool is fully recyclable.
We have developed recycling solutions that give stone wool a long life (or series of lives) after its initial use. Grodan’s parent company has set a goal to offer comprehensive recycling services for its products in 30 countries by 2030. In 2021, we introduced a new reclaimed material service, Rockcycle®, in three countries, bringing the total number of countries where we offer the service to 17—hitting our intermediate goal of 15 countries a full year ahead of schedule. As of 2023, we’re proud to say we offer recycling options to 62% of Grodan’s global consumers and have achieved an annual recycling rate of 65%.
To put that in perspective, Germany recently recorded a recycling rate of 68% and their widely believed to be the most efficient recycling country in the world. So, we’re on the right track but as always, we have room to grow. In fact, ROCKWOOL International is committed to sustainability, specifically circularity and aims to offer recycling services in over 30 countries by 2030.
That’s one reason we were inspired to work with Walker Industries to develop stone wool recycling methods. We co-developed scalable processes at Walker’s All Treat Farms facility in Ontario, Canada to depackage Grodan blocks and slabs and grind the stone wool into a compost ingredient that can be used for agricultural carbon capture applications.
What all these initiatives show is that investing in our planet can take many forms. We support developing technology and recycling solutions that in turn help other businesses restore our planet. Consumers can then invest in those companies' products and services, further bolstering the future of our shared home.
We’ve collectively come a long way in the 53 years since people first observed Earth Day. But there is always more work to be done. At Grodan, we continue to work to find new ways to recycle stone wool, as a soil enrichment product, feedstock for brick manufacturing, applications in green roofs and more. We also continue to develop ways to improve horticulture efficiency, like the GroSens and e-Grow cultivation software and automation tools.
Get a closer look at how Grodan products contribute to a more sustainable agricultural industry on our blog and podcast.