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Like almost no other building material, gypsum and the boards produced from it fulfil the demand for sustainable building. Specialised demolition and recycling companies are able to reprocess gypsum building materials at the life cycle end of a building into fully usable raw material. Therefore, the building material gypsum is particularly well suited to meet the requirement of the German Closed Cycle Management Act as regards recycling raw materials to the highest possible degree. By starting a highly modern proportioning and feeding plant at the Gelsenkirchen-Scholven location, Rigips now gives a clear signal within the frame of its sustainability strategy. On 13 July 2017, the plant was inaugurated as the first of its kind in North Rhine-Westphalia. “By taking this step, we live up to the sustainability concept and our responsibility as a leading provider to come up with forward-looking solutions,” declared Werner Hansmann, Chairman of the Management at Rigips, in his welcoming speech

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For the production of its high-class gypsum products which are recommended under the building biological aspect, Rigips uses natural gypsum and FGD gypsum which is produced as an industrial by-product. Rigips was the first company in Germany to develop the technology for recycling FGD gypsum, and thus contributed to enable its use as raw material. The new plant now commissioned in Gelsenkirchen supplements the raw material supply by a third, particularly sustainable pillar, Werner Hansmann explained. “The basis for the new plant is a comprehensive technological and logistic concept which we developed together with our external recycling partners to enable us to exploit the great potentials from the recycling of reusable gypsum materials. With the start of the plant, Rigips assumes a pioneering role for the entire drywall construction industry. As the first manufacturer, we in North Rhine-Westphalia are now able to implement the idea ‘from gypsum to gypsum’. Thus we cover the complete product service life cycle, from the raw material extraction via the production and installation to the demolition and the recycling.”

Preserving treatment of environment and resources

During the inauguration, Eckhard Kroll, who as the plant manager was responsible for the construction of the ultra-modern Rigips plant, emphasized once again the importance of the all-embracing recycling concept. “The process approach followed by Rigips means that environment and resources are treated with care in several respects. On the one hand, the recycling of reprocessed gypsum materials as a raw material reduces the amount of residuals and results in a noticeable relief for the limited landfill areas. On the other hand, the resource efficiency clearly increases, as instead of alternative natural or industrial gypsum resources, it will be possible to resort to material already utilised in the cycle before, reusing it as the new raw material basis in the future.”

Andreas Bosch, who as the head of the raw material supply department, played an important part in initiating the project, adds: “Thanks to the innovative plant which has now been commissioned, we can generate the optimal mixture for our production from the available three raw material sources.”

Recycling gypsum of highest quality 

Together with the internationally experienced recycling company for gypsum materials New West Gypsum Recycling Inc., and the German subsidiary, New West Gypsum Recycling Germany GmbH, the reusable materials will be reprocessed in accordance with the requirements for raw material. Introduced into the recycling process is material which results from demolitions as well as waste from new building projects and from companies active in the processing industry, currently from the Rhine/Ruhr region and the northern part of Rhineland-Palatinate. “In addition, for years we have already been recycling material which results from our production such as noncompliant lots. This active avoidance of rejects has been a standard practice at Rigips for a long time,” states Eckard Kroll.

It took about two years to design and construct the new plant which will allow us to reach a new level of efficiency regarding the use of gypsum as a raw material,” the plant manager continues. “The requirements for recycling gypsum are extensively specified by the German Federal Association of the Gypsum Industry. We adhere to these specifications, but even made them more stringent under the quality aspect. Our partner reprocesses the gypsum according to these regulations. As an outcome we can deliver products of the usual premium quality which are produced particularly sustainably thanks to the use of recycling gypsum,” states Eckard Kroll. Upon its intake at the collection company as well as at the reprocessing plant of New West Gypsum Recycling Germany, the material to be recycled is checked, sorted and then carefully reprocessed by means of state-of-the-art technology according to the specifications in a multi-stage process. This involves further comprehensive quality inspections which afterwards have to be passed again in the Rigips plant where, apart from additional optimisation measures, the raw material is actually returned into the production process.

Further Rigips locations to follow

At the end of the inauguration ceremony, which amongst others was attended by Gelsenkirchen’s Mayor Frank Baranowski, Managing Director Werner Hansmann outlined the next steps of the Rigips sustainability strategy. “Our next aim is to equip further locations with comparable recycling plants, because the fewer transport routes have to be mastered during the raw materials supply, the more flexible and sustainable we can design our manufacturing processes, and the more positive effects result for the environment and the life cycle assessment of our products. Sustainability is the key aspect in this process for Rigips as well as for the Saint-Gobain Group. The start-up phase of our new plant here in Gelsenkirchen will provide us with many new insights which we will also be able to use for future measures at other locations.”

For further information visit

Saint-Gobain Rigips GmbH · Press Department
Schanzenstraße 84 · 40549 Düsseldorf 
Tel +49 (0) 211 55 03-234 · Fax +49 (0) 211 55 03-477 ·]