The UK’s plasterboard manufacturers, represented by the Gypsum Products Development Association (GPDA), are continuing to play a key role towards the objective of zero plasterboard waste sent to landfill.

During 2012, British Gypsum, Knauf, and Siniat (formerly Lafarge Plasterboard) continued progress against key targets in the Ashdown Agreement, a voluntary initiative on plasterboard recycling signed by GPDA members, and supported by WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme) and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Among the headline figures reported by the GPDA for 2012 are the results for production waste sent to landfill by the UK’s three major gypsum board and plaster manufacturers. Having dropped from 6,300 tonnes in 2007 to zero tonnes in 2011, this category of waste remained at zero tonnes in 2012.

During 2012, the quantity of plasterboard recycled by manufacturers into new plasterboard, was up on the previous year by 10% to 68,988 tonnes compared with 62,750 tonnes in 2011. The total for all ‘environmentally beneficial’ applications, as defined by the Environment Agency was even more impressive, calculated at 95,238 tonnes or 45.4%, showing very encouraging progress towards the Ashdown Agreement’s target of 50% by 2015. GPDA Secretary, Crispin Dunn-Meynell, comments: “The target assumes that 25% of plasterboard waste recycled by specialist recyclers is from new construction, which we believe is a conservative assessment as this is the ‘cleanest’ waste and therefore the easiest to recover and recycle.”

Originally initiated in 2007, the Ashdown Agreement was updated in 2011 to extend plasterboard recycling targets beyond the earlier agreement’s 2010 deadlines, and to set a new long term objective of zero plasterboard waste to landfill by 2025.

Continuing efforts by the GPDA’s UK members have resulted in year on year increases in plasterboard recycling. Crispin Dunn-Meynell from GPDA said: “Initiatives such as “take-back” schemes, whereby contractors can return plasterboard waste to manufacturers rather than sending it to landfill, have proved particularly successful.

“The GPDA is also working with other stakeholders, through its participation in the Plasterboard Sustainability Partnership, in tackling waste throughout the supply chain, advising customers on good waste practice and efficient design.”

The GPDA represents the four major gypsum board and plaster manufacturers: British Gypsum, Siniat (formerly Lafarge Plasterboard) and Knauf in Britain, and Gypsum Industries in Ireland.