PLASTERBOARD RECYCLING SERVICE LAUNCHED BY GYPROC AT KINGSCOURT PLANT
INVESTMENT OF €1.5m IN MAJOR SUSTAINABILITY INITIATIVE
Michael Fisher Northern Standard Thursday 8th December p.6
Plasterboard manufacturer Gyproc has announced Ireland’s first plasterboard recycling service for its construction industry customers. In a major sustainability initiative involving an investment of €1.5 million, Gyproc will recover leftover plasterboard waste from across the island for recycling at its plant outside Kingscourt, Co. Cavan. The new service will offer customers a legal and cost-effective means of disposing of their plasterboard waste. Currently the dumping of such waste at landfill sites is illegal.
Gyproc is the market leader in plaster, plasterboard and drylining systems. Over the next ten years it hopes to recycle half a million tonnes of plasterboard, enough to fill Croke Park one and a half times over. The investment will bring the number of people employed at Kingscourt to 220, a 20% expansion over the past two years. The company is the only manufacturer of plaster and plasterboard in Ireland. The majority of employees live in the surrounding area.
On arrival at the plant it is clear that the top priority in all areas is safety. The company has an excellent record. Vigilance ensures that around 5000 days have passed with no accidents. One of the people who helps them ensure that regulations are adhered to such as the wearing of protective equipment, high-vizibility jackets and shoes is former Monaghan county footballer Dick Clerkin, who is Environmental, Health Safety and Quality Manager. The profitability of the company and the quality of the product are the other main concerns.
Brian Dolan, Managing Director of Gyproc, explained: “We’re very proud to be the first and only plasterboard manufacturer in the country to offer recycling of our products on the island. As a market leader in this sector we are determined to be at the forefront of innovation in new products and services, and in the sustainability and environmental benefits of those services.”
“The new recycling service we’re launching will help to secure local employment into the future by providing additional supplies of a diminishing raw material, namely gypsum rock. All our plasterboard is manufactured in Kingscourt, and we source gypsum from our Drummond mine in Magheracloone, Co. Monaghan, so the connection to the local economy and community is very important to us.”
Manufacturing Manager Fergus Robinson and Operations Manager Darragh Monaghan explained how Gyproc had developed a cost-effective process to take back and recycle the plasterboard waste in the manufacturing process.
They said waste management was a priority for Gyproc in Ireland. From initial design to on-site testing, through to manufacturing and installation the company always believed that effective waste management made good environmental and business sense. A plasterboard recycling service (PRS) customer team is available to set up new accounts, order additional services and answer questions about the service.
The company is part of the St Gobain group, based in France. As a manufacturing company, Gyproc helps to build the environments that are an essential part of everyday life, from schools to hospitals, businesses to homes. Minimising the impact construction projects have on the environment is an important part of the firm’s activities. According to the management, the most effective way to encourage best practice, is to make the building process sustainable for business and sustainable for the environment.
Fergus Robinson said that over many years, Gyproc have committed significant time and resources to ensure they achieve high standards of environmental sustainability, to the point where they now recycle over 97% of the waste produced from their own manufacturing process. To match this internal commitment, the plasterboard off-cut recycling service will help the construction industry reduce its impact on the environment.
The process has been designed from the contractor’s perspective, to minimise processing time and maximise simplicity. Depending on preference, the company through its sub-contractor Allied Recycling can provide a number of different size blue skips to collect the plasterboard off-cuts (14, 25 & 40 yard skips) and collect them from a building site at convenient times. The process is flexible and reliable, and can be scaled up or down to suit any construction project.
The Gyproc system records the total tonnage of waste of plasterboard off-cuts for a project and the average weight per skip, allowing builders to see the financial savings compared to less environmentally sound options. The company stresses that the collected skips must contain only Gyproc plasterboard off-cuts. Any other materials such as metal, timber or non Gyproc manufactured materials will result in a contamination charge being levied at a rate of €160 a tonne.
With over 12,000 employees across 135 sites in 56 countries, St Gobain has an extensive global network combined with in-depth knowledge of local markets. This gives clients immediate access to international best practice in their interior building systems and solutions. They say they value and invest in long-term customer relationships and train 20,000 staff each year, so that building contractors can continue to rely on the integrity of their people, products and processes.
At Kingscourt there is a purpose-built Academy where quality controls can be carried out and where dry liners and plasterers can be trained in working with the latest products. The St Gobain Academy along with one in Dublin offers courses to up-skill and educate trade professionals, merchant staff and customers in all aspects of Gyproc’s range of products and their application in accordance with current construction techniques and standards. All courses are presented by experienced personnel. The facilities include dedicated product display areas and working areas for hands-on practical plastering and plasterboard system demonstrations.
Gypsum board, commonly known as drywall, is the technical product name used by manufacturers for a specific board with a gypsum core and a paper facing. It is the premier building material for wall, ceiling, and partition systems in residential, institutional, and commercial structures and is designed to provide a monolithic surface when joints and fastener heads are covered with a joint treatment system. One principal advantage of gypsum board over plywood, hardboard, and fiberboard is its strong fire resistance.
To produce gypsum board, calcined gypsum is mixed with water and additives to form a slurry which is fed between continuous layers of paper on a board machine. As the board moves down a conveyor line, the calcium sulfate recrystallizes or rehydrates, reverting to its original rock state. The paper becomes chemically and mechanically bonded to the core. The board is then cut to length and conveyed through dryers to remove any free moisture.
Gyproc has been manufacturing in Ireland since 1936. Their products have been used in many of the biggest and most prestigious commercial building projects on the island of Ireland including the National Convention Centre, Titanic Belfast, the Bord Gais Energy Theatre and the landmark Terminal Two at Dublin Airport.
Minister Heather Humphreys said she was delighted to see Gyproc’s new recycling service being launched. “It will deliver economic and environmental benefits both for the sector and for the local community in Cavan and Monaghan. The company has gone from strength to strength, and it’s great to see a local business success story that is leading the way in sustainability and environmental innovation”, she said.
Caoimghín Ó Caoláin TD of Sinn Féin said: “I very much welcome the announcement by Gyproc Kingscourt of the new plaster board off-cut recycling service. This represents a significant investment, is job creative and environmentally important. Well done to all concerned.”
Fianna Fáil Deputy Niamh Smyth also congratulated the company and said the investment would create much needed jobs in Kingscourt. “I know it will see the company recover leftover plasterboard, before recycling it in its Kingscourt facility. The dumping of plasterboard in landfills is illegal. This too can only benefit the environment, in my view”, she said.
Deputy Smyth concluded: “This is a very exciting day for Kingscourt and Drummond and the local economy in general. It follows the opening of a major SuperValu store in Kingscourt a few weeks ago which, will also create and sustain much need employment in the town.”