According to the BuyAssociation, the UK housing market is performing particularly strongly with a record level of demand. The stamp duty holiday, lifting of lockdown restrictions, increased mortgage availability and low interest rates are causing a boom in the property market across the board (credit). This coincides with a spike in global demand for construction materials as economies try to recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As a consequence of this global and national demand, homeowners are facing higher costs as building materials are in limited supply, with shortages across the country.
As the UK begins to open up, customers, retailers, contractors and wholesalers are struggling to acquire adequate stock. This has been compounded by a sharp rise in shipping costs. Noble Francis, economics director at the Construction Products Association, recently reported to the BBC, that “Shipping costs have risen sharply due a shortage of empty containers from COVID-19-related issues and the sharp recovery in global demand," (credit).
The UK is a major importer of raw materials that are required in the manufacture of products essential to the construction industry. One such imported raw material required for the manufacture of plasterboard, is Gypsum (Calcium sulfate hydrate). Gypsum is a naturally occurring mineral found in layers of sedimentary rock all over the world.
Gypsum is used in the manufacture of drywall, wallboard and plasterboard. With the decline of the use of flue-gas desulfurized gypsum (technology that removes sulfur dioxide from exhaust flue-gasses arising from fossil-fuel power plants), as an alternative to raw gypsum in the manufacture of plasterboard, recycled gypsum powder has become more important as a truly sustainable raw material substitute.
Countrystyle Recycling’s commercial director, Becky Byrne, commented: “Countrystyle is well placed to manage the demand for sustainable raw material substitutes following the COVID pandemic. This is due to its multi-million pound investment in the latest waste plasterboard recycling technology in 2017, which allows us to produce up to 100,000 tonnes per annum of recycled gypsum powder.”
Countrystyle’s plasterboard recycling facility is underpinned by a long term agreement to supply recycled gypsum powder to Knauf UK’s plasterboard manufacturing plants in Kent and Lincolnshire.
Becky continues “Our recycling facility is playing a significant part in reducing the dependency on virgin material that is in limited supply and in huge global demand. It also has the ability to reduce the carbon footprint of new plasterboard manufactured in the UK by our partner Knauf UK.”
Around 10% of the gypsum in Knauf UK’s finished board products is from recycled gypsum.