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Knauf Industries, a member of EUMEPS, has recently hosted a series of visits from French politicians to showcase its advanced practices in the Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) industry. These visits are part of Knauf’s ongoing efforts to engage with policymakers and highlight the importance of EPS in achieving sustainable industrial and environmental goals. Philippe Chanu, Director of Public and Institutional Relations at Knauf, has provided insights into the objectives and outcomes of these visits, as well as the company’s innovative recycling programme, Knauf Circular®.


Key Objectives of the Visits

Since November 2023, Knauf Industries has welcomed 18 French parliamentarians to its facilities. These visits, detailed by Philippe Chanu, serve multiple purposes: to familiarize policymakers with the company’s operations, demonstrate EPS’s recyclability, and discuss the impacts of legislative decisions on the EPS industry. Philippe Chanu explains, “The objective of these visits is to make our company known, to explain the industrial EPS sector, and to showcase our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) efforts. It is also an opportunity to explain the Knauf Circular® initiative, showing that EPS is recyclable and recycled.


Notable Highlights and Interactions

The visits have facilitated significant exchanges between Knauf representatives and the visiting politicians. These interactions have been crucial in discussing the economic impacts of legislative measures such as the Climate and Resilience Law and the Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR). Philippe Chanu notes, “It was a valuable opportunity for exchange, allowing us to discuss how their decisions affected our companies and highlight areas for improvement. I emphasised the economic implications and importance of addressing potential job losses while showcasing our continuous evolution and progress.”


Political Engagement and Outcomes

The engagements have resulted in a number of parliamentary actions, including numerous letters to the government and questions posed to the Prime Minister concerning the future of the EPS industry in France. One notable instance was a deputy raising a question about the future of EPS during a public government session at the National Assembly without receiving a clear response. However, on 31 May, at the Senate, Senator Bernard Pillefer, who had visited one of Knauf’s factories on 7 March, raised the same question to the government. This time, the response from the Minister was clear:

  • The Minister recognised the efforts of the industry to develop a recycling sector, even though it is not yet fully operational.
  • To avoid a conflict between French and European laws, the government proposed postponing the application of the Climate and Resilience Law to 2030, whereas the original text stipulated a ban from 1 January 2025.

Philippe Chanu concludes, “This is the first time the government has clearly expressed its intentions regarding the future of EPS. We still need to wait for the law to be amended, but this marks a significant step forward.”


Collaborative Efforts for Sustainability in France: Knauf Circular® and Créa-Styr Initiatives

A pivotal part of the discussions has been Knauf’s pioneering recycling initiative, Knauf Circular®. This programme is designed to give a second life to EPS waste by collecting used EPS from clients, crushing it, and compacting it for reuse. The service covers clean EPS from construction sites and packaging, supported by a nationwide take-back system. Knauf Circular® collaborates with various stakeholders, including building and construction companies, food industry wholesalers, public recycling centres, and more. Knauf Circular® offers a unique local service to its clients with 18 dedicated sites for EPS waste valorisation, ensuring comprehensive coverage across the national territory. This initiative helps combat waste, landfilling, and illegal dumping, avoiding incineration as a last resort.

In addition to Knauf Circular®, the French initiative Créa-Styr, run by the French National Association and EUMEPS member Elipso, and supported by EUMEPS, also significantly promotes the circular economy within the EPS industry. Créa-Styr focuses on collecting and recycling EPS packaging waste from various sectors. By collaborating with multiple partners, the Créa-Styr Initiative aims to ensure that EPS waste is efficiently collected, processed, and reintegrated into the production cycle. This initiative highlights the collective efforts within France to enhance the sustainability of EPS products and aligns with broader European environmental objectives.

These programmes are vital as they address the major applications of EPS—construction and packaging—thereby significantly reducing waste and promoting recycling. They demonstrate the EPS industry’s commitment to circularity and sustainability, setting a benchmark for environmental responsibility and innovative recycling practices.

Philippe Chanu


The visits by French politicians to Knauf Industries have underscored the role of EPS in sustainable industrial practices and the importance of supportive legislative frameworks. Through these interactions, Knauf has effectively communicated the recyclability and environmental benefits of EPS, as well as the economic implications of regulatory decisions. The Knauf Circular® programme exemplifies the company’s proactive approach to recycling and sustainability, while initiatives like Créa-Styr demonstrate a national commitment to these values by the EPS sector.

EUMEPS and the European EPS industry are dedicated to advancing the circularity and sustainability of its products, and are at the forefront of these efforts, showcasing innovative solutions that contribute to circularity and a more resource-efficient future.

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