No matter where you are on this planet, you are never far from sand and stone. Silica sand is amongst the most commonly found minerals(1) on the Earth's crust and basalt and dolomite are amongst the most common of volcanic rocks.
Although the composition of sand varies, silica is the most common constituent(2). Typically found in the form of quartz, the main industrial use of silica sand is for glassmaking. The geographic and geological conditions which produce sand deposits are plentiful and are found all over the earth(3). As a result sand can be considered as rapidly renewable.
More sand is naturally generated per annum than is used by mankind to produce glass, insulation and other sand-based products. Moreover, an increasingly large percentage of glass wool is made of post-consumer recycled glass.
Stone wool is made from volcanic rock, typically from basalt or dolomite. An increasing proportion of stone wool is made from recycled material in the form of briquettes which are remnants from the production process.
Stone and glass wool insulation producers have taken robust measures to decrease their need for natural resources. From used glass to industrial slag to the reprocessing of production waste, recycling of raw materials has long been an integral part of the stone and glass wool insulation production process.
The other key natural resource used in the production of mineral wool insulation is water. Eurima members’ investment in research and development has allowed water consumption to be substantially diminished in many areas. For example, a welcome innovation is the increased use of closed circuit systems to reduce high-temperatures in the manufacturing process.
Mineral wool insulation is made from molten glass, stone or slag that is spun into a fibre-like structure which creates a sustainable and exceptional combination of thermal, acoustic and fire-resistance properties that no other insulation material can match.
(1) Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silica
Iler, R.K. (1979). The Chemistry of Silica. Plenum Press. ISBN 047102404X.
Lynn Townsend White, Jr. (1961). "Eilmer of Malmesbury, an Eleventh Century Aviator: A Case Study of Technological Innovation, Its Context and Tradition". Technology and Culture (Society for the History of Technology) 2 (2): 97–111. http://jstor.org/stable/3101411.
(2) Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sand
(3) Source: NAIMA – SAND: A renewable and virtually inexhaustible resource