The Environment Agency has recently announced a new guidance on the management of gypsum and other high sulphate bearing wastes (including plasterboard) and the limits of the waste accepted in landfill sites.
Landfilling of gypsum and other high sulphate bearing wastes with biodegradable waste has been prohibited in England and Wales since 2005, there has been a pragmatic view that separate disposal is not necessary where construction waste contains small amounts, up to 10%, sulphate. The Environment Agency has said that this was always planned to be reviewed in response to scientific research.
Below are the main points of the November 2008 regulations from the EA regarding plasterboard waste:
- Total ban on disposal of plasterboard waste at mixed waste landfills
- The previous 10% rule is gone; the regulations are valid for any amount of plasterboard waste. A zero tolerance policy will be applied
- Obligations for HWRC’s, construction and demolition contractors and transfer/sorting facilities to segregate plasterboard waste
- Obligation to try to recycle and treat as much of the waste as possible
The EA clearly states: “This material must not be land-filled with biodegradable waste. Producers of gypsum waste should separate it for recovery and recycling”.