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Gypsum Recovery Reuse for Construction
13 August 2019

John Herbert, hong kong energy saving expert, BEAM expert
John Herbert
Director


Gypsum board more commonly known as plasterboard or drywall is a very common construction product, it is used practically in every project, yet tonnes of this valuable mineral are needlessly dumped into landfill every year, and that is a problem.

Landfill disposal is not an easy option, it can be problematic, due to the release of toxic compounds, some jurisdictions in North America have already banned gypsum/plasterboard from landfill sites.

plasterboard waste hong kongWaste plasterboard / gypsum board destined for Hong Kong landfill



Instead, gypsum can be recovered, and used to make new plasterboard,

The process for re-use is hardly difficult, if the material can be effectively separated from general construction waste, it can be recycled, processed and mixed to form the raw material used to make new plasterboard, or other new products.

It is environmentally effective to recover used materials locally than to pay for excavating, mining, and shipping virgin ore.

interiors gypsum, drywall, sheetrock, plasterboardGypsum Recycling credit: mrw.co.uk



Used plasterboard can also be repurposed and used as fertilizer, ask a farmer, it is a soil conditioner, providing soluble form of calcium and sulphur for improving the condition of the soil.

Gypsum is also a byproduct of boiler flue gas cleaning process, in Europe, a drywall company set up its factory close to the power station to use the byproduct as its raw material. Gypsum sourced from flue gas cleaning is clean, and doesnt risk the typical "contamination" nails, paint, etc. resulting from typical demolition projects.

Policy

If the buyer (contractor) is free to purchase any type of plasterboard in the market, with few exceptions cost is the primary metric, particularly when other metrics such as environmental benefits, and recycling content are less than clear.

To clarify for the consumer the benefits of using recycled materials, in the absence of regulations, creating a cost difference between virgin and recycled gypsum board is the fastest path to adoption.

When the HKSAR Government introduced a small charge to buy a supermarket plastic shopping bag the entire sector changed within weeks, smart shoppers opted to bring a shopping bag, and the use of single plastic shopping bags dropped dramatically indicating that consumers are very cost sensitive, so it is a powerful tool for promoting more sustainable practices.

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SDC and BEAMPLUS consultant for your project, call our John Herbert in our Hong Kong office today +852 2335 9830

About the Author

John Herbert is a veteran chief engineer with more than 30 years international engineering experience, educated in the United Kingdom, he worked in the UK and then across Asia for more than two decades engaged by international and local companies. He is a Hong Kong Registered Energy Assessor (REA) and BEAM Professional, and is stationed in Hong Kong.



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date: 21-09-19
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