Officially launched today, Knauf UK and Ireland has partnered with Encore Environment to deliver an enhanced waste management service to reduce plasterboard waste. The landmark scheme looks to move towards a circular economy by taking waste plasterboard and reintroducing it to the local supply chain.

According to the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), plasterboard can make up to a third of all waste from a fit out. And with plasterboard banned from landfill, the need to effectively manage this waste is critical.

Knauf isn’t new to plasterboard recycling, having pioneered a recycling partnership directly next to their Sittingbourne factory. “The existing factory and recycling service is fantastic. However, with this partnership we’re able to really tap into on site recycling and ensure as much goes back into the supply chain as possible.” Explains Jon Watts, National Client Development Manager UK & Ireland.

Contractors that use Knauf products and opt into the Take Back Scheme will be connected to local and vetted recycling companies via Encore nationwide network. These dedicated skips will be sent to their site and, once filled, are collected and brought to specialised local centres. “This is critical, we don’t want plasterboard being taken all over the country. It’s broken down locally and then gets distributed back to plasterboard manufacturers” continues Jon.

The latter process is critical to creating the basis of a circular economy. “We already have something similar at Sittingbourne for local contractors. The Encore partnership opens it up nationally.”

The trial starts with the Piccadilly Warehouse renovation in Manchester with contractors Manchester Design and Build. Marcus Bunting, Head of Technical Delivery at Manchester Design and Build, explains the benefits on site: “This is an interesting site to start the scheme due to the access and site restrictions. It puts the scheme to the test and is sure to highlight areas where excess waste is generated. The biggest draw for us is those insights into site wastage and how we can use that data to design out waste. That’s the biggest value for us.”

Jon elaborates on the significance of this data. “When the plasterboard is taken away, it’s weighed so that Encore can measure how much is taken off site. This helps to understand not just the volume but allows Encore to provide reports on the embodied carbon of the waste. All this data can then be used by contractors and Knauf to improve supply, minimise waste from the outset, and prove sustainability claims.”

While this data reporting process is standard for Encore, this added insight will prove invaluable to Knauf to help the business meet its sustainability goals. Thanks to their expertise in waste management, Knauf can effectively start tracking circularity and design out waste for future projects.

What sets Encore Environment apart from traditional waste management services is their dedication not just to waste reduction, but social value too as Stacey Bee, Key Account Manager at Encore explains. “First and foremost we’re a social enterprise. That means our efforts aren’t just on reducing the number of skips on site by designing out waste, but by supporting local communities via our social value initiatives ProjectDIVERT and Waste Wise Kids. From donations to home-grown initiatives, it all supports the social value contribution of a site, while contributing to a company’s ESG and sustainability credentials.”

Contractors looking to opt into to the scheme, or to find out more information, can visit the Knauf website here: