The project recognises that closed loop recycling depends on three main factors: systematic dismantling of buildings; source sorting of waste to avoid mixed waste and contamination; and stringent specifications for recycled gypsum, so that it can be reincorporated into the manufacturing process. In practice, this involves the full spectrum of the supply chain, which is why the project’s membership is so broad.
Ultimately, the industry will need to take a holistic approach to deconstruction. But plasterboard is an important place to start. Its principal material, gypsum, is infinitely recyclable as gypsum, and unlocking the potential to keep this material within a closed cycle should provide valuable insight for other parts of the industry.
Equally crucial is to involve the entire supply chain. Marshalling materials in our sector is a long-term task, and a shift in mindset and a maturing marketplace for post-consumer waste should make sustainable practice a more attractive option in construction.