The carbon footprint of a material is an important parameter in assessing its sustainability. Equally crucial, however, is its ability to be recycled after use - ideally without compromising quality - i.e. its fitness in terms of circular economy. And, of course, the extent and duration of the impact caused by the material after its use is crucial in assessing its sustainability balance. Not to be forgotten: In times of fragile supply chains, the ability to sustainably supply global customers forms another component in assessing a material's sustainability.
Our perlite is not only natural, it is a natural product with certificate of origin. This is because all our perlite products come from a European mining area on the Greek volcanic island of Milos. This not only ensures consistent quality, but also short delivery routes to our plants, which are also European.
For us, sustainability means: We take a natural raw material from nature, process it and, after multiple uses by our customers, return it to nature in just as harmless a condition as we took it from it. For our customers it means: No supply uncertainty thanks to our own mine participation in Milos, Greece.
Perlite is a natural stone. More precisely: volcanic glass. Chemically inert, pure and pH-neutral. It's like the Switzerland of materials. Our processing does not change these properties. So nature remains nature.
Some producers are already satisfied if their product can be reused once after use in a lower-value product. A typical example is a car tire that is shredded after use and recycled as a sports field surface. For us, true circular economy means that the product can be reused for an equivalent purpose without compromising quality. Knauf Perlite products can be reused up to five times without any decline in quality. For example, Cryoperl® can be used as a soil improver in horticulture after its use as an insulating material.
If the product life cycle of Knauf Perlite products does come to an end, there is one thing you certainly don't have: a disposal problem. Because even after use, perlite is exactly what it was at the beginning of its journey: a natural stone from a volcano.
The results of a mortality study among the inhabitants of Milos (Greece), where we mine our raw perlite, did not reveal a significantly increased mortality rate. In fact, the total number of deaths related to respiratory diseases is lower in Milos than in the Cyclades prefecture as a whole. A 1994 study by Tulane University, Louisiana, found no evidence of silicosis risk or measurable adverse respiratory effects from perlite exposure for employed workers in 89 perlite companies studied.
Perlite is formed when lava with a low mass fraction of volatile substances cools rapidly. Perlite is thus a naturally renewable material, because new perlite is formed with every volcanic activity, which means that the supply of the material is virtually inexhaustible.
Worldwide, perlite is mined in a total area of only 8km2. That is twice the size of New York's Central Park, not more. In the last 60 years, less than one percent of the perlite deposits have been mined.
No chemical substances are used in the mining or expansion process.
Heating the raw perlite until it expands requires a great deal of heat energy. However, the generated CO2 is compensated by the generated insulation effect of the expanded perlite as well as by growing CO2-compensating plants with the help of Perligran®.
No, the finished, expanded perlite from Knauf Performance Materials is so pure that it can be used for filtering beverages and producing food. No harmful by-products are produced during expansion.
Perlite is one of the few real circular materials. This means that perlite products from Knauf can be reused up to five times without any decline in quality. For example, Cryoperl® can be used as a soil improver in horticulture after its use as an insulating material.
In the field of cryo-isolation, perlite is the only effective natural material. Plant substrates with perlite require less peat, which helps to protect the biosphere. In the thermal insulation of buildings, Cryoperl® is one of the few effective natural materials - with significantly shorter transport distances than e.g. coconut.
Perlite makes processed finished products lighter and easier to process while simultaneously producing a higher yield. Thus, perlite not only improves the product properties, but also ensures lower transport costs and less waste.
Non-expanded and thus compact raw perlite is transported in a resource-saving way by ship and rail to the expansion plants in Dortmund, Neuburg/Donau and Bülstringen, which are close to the places of application. We offer major customers on-site expansion with the help of our portable expansion unit.