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RECYCLED MATERIALS in
Builders use insulation to slow the conduction of heat within
a building or home.
Insulation plays an important role in conserving energy and
provides an efficient use for recycled materials.
Depending on the type, insulations are currently made with a
range of recycled materials.
Batt and Roll Insulation:
This type of insulation is the most commonly used.
Batt insulation mostly consists of flexible fibers, such
as fiberglass, mineral wood, cotton, and sheep’s wool.
Batt and roll insulation are widely available in a
variety of sizes, making it easy to adjust the insulation
between wall studs, rafters, and floor joists.
Concrete Block Insulation:
Builders use concrete blocks for foundation and walls of
some homes. Because
heat is easily conducted through the blocks, insulation either
fills or incases the concrete.
Though it is more effective to insulate the surface of
the blocks, some manufacturers use foam or polystyrene fillers
to fill the inside.
Foam Board and Rigid Foam Insulation:
Made from a variety of materials, foam boards are more
rigid than batt insulation and can insulate roofs, walls, and
of findings regarding ozone-depleting chemicals in polyurethane,
polyisocyanurate, and extruded polystyrene, manufacturers
continue to search for environmentally responsible materials
with which to make foam.
Loose Fill and Blown Insulation:
Small particles of a variety of materials, including
cellulose, fiberglass, and mineral wool, are used in loose fill
insulation to easily conform to tight spaces.
This type of insulation provides the most opportunity for
use of recycled materials.
Sprayed Foam Insulation:
insulation can be sprayed, foamed, injected, or poured into
place and provide an air-tight barrier for energy conservation.
As with foam board insulation, manufacturers continue to
develop foams with materials that do not contain harmful
Reflective Insulation: Used
most frequently and effectively in hot climates, reflective
insulation uses foils, plastic films, and kraft paper to reflect
heat away from attics and open living spaces.
Insulation provides an excellent use of recycled material.
The materials below all consist of some post-consumer
Used in loose fill insulation, cellulose is comprised
mostly of recycled newspaper.
Some manufacturers are improving their processing to
produce finer, cleaner fibers, which are more effective and
extend the use of the recycled product.
Depending on the manufacturer, fiberglass contains 20 to
30 percent recycled glass material, with most of that material
coming from post-consumer bottles.
Select manufacturers boast 90 percent recycled glass
made with 50 percent recycled plastic resin, with much of the
resin coming from post-consumer recyclables. Polystyrene can be
recycled and used again for the same purpose.
Barriers used in reflective insulation and foil facings of batt
insulation contains mostly recycled aluminum.
Cotton, used in
batt and loose fill insulation, is often favored against
fiberglass, which can be an irritant.
Select manufacturers produce cotton insulation from
approximately 95 percent recycled fiber.
RECYCLING & REUSING
Insulation usually reaches its end life because of changes or
removal of the building or home, not due to defective use of the
insulation itself. The accumulation of dust and dirt restricts
insulation from being recycled and made into a product other
However, builders can be proactive to preserve the
reusability of insulation, should it have to be removed.
Installing layer of sheathing behind the insulation may
allow it to be reused after removal.
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