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Signs of green practice

The amount of plasterboard being sent to landfill has reduced for the third year running, implying that builders are reducing waste and increasing recycling measures.

The latest report on plasterboard waste, produced as part of the Ashdown Agreement, describes a third year in which waste gypsum has been reduced across all four targets. This year’s report in particular shows a significant drop in the amount of gypsum landfilled during the manufacture of new plasterboard; down to just 504 tonnes (12 months to 31 March 2010) against the original target of 10,000 tonnes (year 2007/08). The Ashdown Agreement is a response to the need to address waste gypsum produced in the UK. The annual production of plaster in the UK is estimated to be around 700 million kg, equivalent to more than 60 million bags, with over 200 million m2 of plasterboard produced.

This material is used predominantly in house building, commercial and industrial building, and repairs. WRAP estimates that waste arising from construction and demolition is between 0.5-1 million tonnes per annum, depending on market conditions. Mike Falconer Hall, programme manager materials recycling WRAP said: “The Ashdown report shows the good progress the gypsum industry is making in tackling waste. Given the difficult economic situation and the effect this has had on construction, businesses are focussing on the cost as well as the environmental benefits of waste reduction and recycling.” The Ashdown Agreement on Plasterboard Recycling is an arrangement between WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme) and the Gypsum Products Development Association (GPDA); comprising of British Gypsum, Knauf Drywall and Lafarge Plasterboard.