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GtoG - GtoG: From Production to Recycling, a Circular Economy for the European Gypsum Industry with the Demolition and Recycling Industry

LIFE11 ENV/BE/001039


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Contact details:

Contact person: Christine MARLET
Tel: 32 2 227 11 30
Fax: 32 2 218 31 41
Email: info@eurogypsum.org



Project description:

Background

Gypsum is widely used in construction, the biggest sectorial employer in EU. Gypsum is widely used in construction, the biggest sectorial employer in EU. The gypsum industry has a turnover of around 7.7 billion Euro. It operates 154 quarries and 160 factories, which generate employment directly for 28 000 and indirectly for 300 000 people. The number of plasterboard installer in Europe is around 1 million persons. The industry trains 25 000 people per year.

The gypsum industry generates some 1% of total construction and demolition waste. Gypsum waste can be split into three categories: production waste, construction waste, and demolition (including renovation) waste. The latter is the most complex to address because gypsum adheres to other construction materials (e.g. plaster, paint and screed). Although gypsum products are indefinitely and fully recyclable, only a small percentage is recycled in Europe. The main barrier to recycling is that buildings are currently demolished and not dismantled, hampering the recovery of gypsum waste. The drivers for recycling are stricter criteria for landfilling of gypsum waste, ambitious targets set by the EU of 70% for the recycling of construction and demolition waste, and green public procurement.


Objectives

The overall objective of the GtoG project was to achieve a higher recycling rate for gypsum waste, by demonstrating the economic feasibility of transforming it into a valued resource. The project aimed to firstly focus on deconstruction practices to demonstrate the feasibility and advantages of deconstruction versus demolition; to process the waste to separate gypsum from other materials; and then to incorporate the recovered gypsum into a manufacturing process, with an assessment of technical difficulties, options and solutions. A pilot study was executed by the project partners in partnership with gypsum manufacturers. The project planned assessments throughout of the carbon footprint and the methods to mitigate it at the construction, transport, processing and manufacturing levels.


Results

The GtoG ("Gypsum to Gypsum") project put in place an integrated approach to construction and demolition (C&D) waste by holistic management, starting from major refurbishment and demolition sites to the reincorporation of the recycled gypsum in the manufacturing process, via the processing of gypsum waste as a secondary raw material. From a technical point of view, the project demonstrated that it is possible to produce plasterboard of sufficient quality in an economically-sound manner by using recycled gypsum coming from C&D waste. The crucial argument that the project promoted was that closed loop recycling involves a close collaboration among all the stakeholders throughout the entire value chain: from the dismantling and collection of plasterboard waste in buildings, via the recycling of this waste, and culminating with the reincorporation of the recycled gypsum by plasterboard manufacturing plants.

Therefore, the GtoG project boosted closed-loop recycling route whenever possible along the entire value chain. In terms of dismantling plasterboard on demolition sites, the project stressed quantity and quality optimisation of recovered materials to increase the potential for their future recycling. This resulted in different waste fractions with minimal damage, due to the time and care taken in separating the waste.

Plasterboard waste from C&D waste is separated on site, collected by a third party and transported to a gypsum recycler for processing. Once processed, the participating plasterboard manufacturers produced plasterboards with 20-30% (average 25%) of recycled gypsum, with the target of 30% reached in two of the five factories. These results were achieved without process adjustments in the participating factories. Enhancing the recycling rate (30% to 50%) would demand investments in equipment. The recycled gypsum and the plasterboards produced with the recycled gypsum meet defined quality criteria. The project’s deliverables set the framework necessary to create a culture of deconstruction (rather than demolition) and recycling of C&D gypsum waste. Best practices for deconstruction, recycling and manufacturing were defined. Handbooks of best practices were supplied to enable different actors in the gypsum value chain (demolishers, recyclers, manufacturers) to successfully implement gypsum recycling. The project, for example, provided waste acceptance criteria for the recovered gypsum, in the form of quality guidelines. The project’s roadmap for a sustainable gypsum value chain gives recommendations to the EC and to the European gypsum industry on how to strengthen gypsum recycling.

The project is very relevant to the EU Circular Economy Action Plan, the Landfill Directive (1999/31/EC) and the Waste Framework Directive (2008/98/EC); the latter setting a target of 70% for the re-use, recycling and other recovery of C&D waste by 2020. In addition to reductions in the landfilling of C&D waste, the project delivers a range of other environmental benefits, including a reduced carbon footprint; a potential decrease in amounts of non-recyclable gypsum waste due to the promotion of designs for deconstruction or re-use for plasterboards and other gypsum elements in end-of-life buildings; increased resource use efficiency; and increased recycling of other C&D waste fractions due to the promotion of audits prior to demolition and selective deconstruction. A particular innovation was bringing together all actors of the gypsum value chain from different European countries (included competitors) under the lead of a European association. This collaborative approach has important demonstration value.

Socio-economic benefits would arise through the emergence of a market for gypsum recycling, helped by rising waste disposal prices which would enhance the financial sustainability of recycling C&D waste. Furthermore, C&D waste recycling requires that end-of-life buildings are deconstructed rather than demolished, this translates into jobs that necessitate more skills in terms of design and deconstruction techniques which in turn help to boost green growth.

Further information on the project can be found in the project's layman report and After-LIFE Communication Plan (see "Read more" section).


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Environmental issues addressed:

Themes

Industry-Production - Building
Waste - Construction and demolition waste


Keywords

waste recycling‚  building material‚  resource conservation‚  building waste


Target EU Legislation

  • Waste
  • Directive 1999/31 - Landfill of waste (26.04.1999)
  • Directive 2008/98 - Waste and repealing certain Directives (Waste Framework Directive) (19.11.200 ...
  • COM(2015)614 - "Closing the loop - An EU action plan for the Circular Economy" (02.12.2015)

Natura 2000 sites

Not applicable


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Beneficiaries:

Coordinator Eurogypsum-association européenne des industries du plâtre
Type of organisation Professional organisation
Description Eurogypsum is a European federation of national associations of producers of gypsum products based in Brussels. Its role is to promote the interests of the European gypsum industry and ensure that there is awareness at a European level of the contribution the gypsum industry makes to society. Particular emphasis is placed on building a constructive and efficient dialogue with the European Institutions in all subjects directly related to the competitiveness of the gypsum industry.
Partners Placoplatre SA, France National Technical University of Athens, Greece Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Spain Fundación General Universidad Politécnica de Madrid-LOEMCO, Spain Lafarge Platres SA, France Lafarge Plasterboard Ltd, United Kingdom Knauf Gips KG, Deutschland NV Saint-Gobain Construction Products Belgium SA (Gyproc), Belgium New West Gypsum Recycling Benelux BVBA, Belgium Gypsum Recycling International A/S, Denmark Recycling Assistance BVBA, Belgium Recovering SARL, France Pinault & Gapaix, France OCCAMAT, France Jaeger Ausbau, Germany Cantillon Ltd, United Kingdom

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Project reference LIFE11 ENV/BE/001039
Duration 01-JAN-2013 to 01-JAN -2016
Total budget 3,566,250.00 €
EU contribution 1,783,123.00 €
Project location Bruxelles-Brussel(België - Belgique)

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Read more:

Leaflet Project leaflet (Spanish version)
Leaflet Project leaflet (German version)
Leaflet "GtoG LIFE + Information Board" (2 MB)
Leaflet Project leaflet (French version)
Leaflet Project leaflet
Newsletter "GtoG Highlights, n°1 - April 2013" (200 KB)
Newsletter "GtoG Highlight, n°5 - June 2014" (1.18 MB)
Newsletter "GtoG Highlights, n°4 - March 2014" (1.40 MB)
Newsletter "GtoG Highlight, n°6 - October 2014" (2 MB)
Newsletter "GtoG Highlight, n°9 - September 2015" (742 KB)
Newsletter "GtoG Highlights, n°2 - July 2013" (386 KB)
Poster "The perfect loop" (Poster)
Project web site Project's website
Publication: After-LIFE Communication Plan After-LIFE Communication Plan
Publication: Guidelines-Manual REPORT ON BEST PRACTICE INDICATORS FOR DECONSTRUCT ...
Publication: Guidelines-Manual "EUROPEAN HANDBOOK ON BEST PRACTICES IN DECONSTRUC ...
Publication: Layman report Layman report
Publication: Layman report Layman report (French version)
Publication: Layman report Layman report (Spanish version)
Publication: Layman report Layman report (German version)
Publication: Layman report Layman report (Greek version)
Publication: Technical report Project's Final technical report
Video link Project's short presentation video (2')

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Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version