Building materials specialist Etex Building performance has set a new record for plasterboard recycling in the UK achieving an average recycled content of 14 per cent for its Siniat products.
The figure is for Etex’s operations in 2019, meaning that the business not only surpassed the industry’s performance of 7.6 per cent for that year, it has already outperformed the 2020 target of 10 per cent.
Etex has invested substantially in its operations to reuse waste gypsum, which can be infinitely recycled. This has included an upgrade of its manufacturing plant and the opening of a new recycling facility at Ferrybridge. Etex also plans to build a second plant at Bristol which will be able to use high ratios of recycled gypsum and will have a rainwater harvesting system.
As well as investing in its production capabilities, Etex has worked to secure its own supply of post-consumer gypsum. It established Crucible Gypsum Recycling which recovers materials from construction sites across England and Wales.
The move was informed by Etex’s involvement in Gypsum to Gypsum, an EU Commission supported research project, which showed the importance of controlling the quality of post-consumer material and re-orientating the industry for the recovery of waste at the end of a building’s lifecycle.
The company also recycles all its production waste, with none being sent to landfill since 2009.
Steve Hemmings, head of environment and sustainability at Etex Building Performance, said: “Recovering waste gypsum makes business as well as environmental sense. The plasterboard industry traditionally relied on quarried gypsum or desulphurised gypsum – a by-product of coal-fired power stations but this is becoming less available as the UK switches to alternative energy sources.
“Recycling offers a greener future for construction, but it requires investment and coordination across the supply chain. We’re investing early to make sure we have the capability and capacity to continue leading the UK’s plasterboard manufacturing sector and provide more sustainable solutions for our clients.”