Knauf introduces plasterboard recycling scheme

Knauf introduces plasterboard recycling scheme

Knauf UK and Ireland has partnered with Encore Environment to deliver “an enhanced waste management service” to reduce plasterboard waste.

The supplier states that the “landmark scheme” looks to move towards a circular economy by taking waste plasterboard and reintroducing it to the local supply chain. Indeed, 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 previously pioneered a recycling partnership directly next to its Sittingbourne factory. Jon Watts, the firm’s National Client Development Manager, explained: “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.”

Contractors that use Knauf products and opt into the Take Back Scheme will be connected to local and vetted recycling companies via the Encore nationwide network. These dedicated skips will be sent to their site and, once filled, are collected and brought to specialised local centres.

Jon continued: “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.”

As Jon reveals, 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 has started with the Piccadilly Warehouse renovation in Manchester with contractor Manchester Design and Build. Marcus Bunting, Head of Technical Delivery at the contractor, explained 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.”

Elaborating on the significance of this data, Jon said: “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, Knauf contends this added insight will prove invaluable in helping the business meet its sustainability goals and further enable it to effectively “start tracking circularity and design out waste for future projects.”

According to Stacey Bee, Key Account Manager at Encore Environment, what sets the business apart from traditional waste management services is its dedication not just to waste reduction, but social value too. She explained: “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:

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