New Workplace Recycling Regulations come into force in Wales on 6 April 2024. Find out what this means for your business and how to prepare in this guide.
Plasterboard Disposal and Recycling
Plasterboard is a material used to make many interior walls and ceilings in the UK, one of the most widespread construction materials in our homes. It provides fire protection, insulation, and helps control condensation in your walls. During renovations you’ll need to arrange safe and effective plasterboard disposal.
Homeowners looking to remodel, builders stripping properties, and deconstruction teams may all find themselves disposing of plasterboard at some point. There are legal regulations in place, as well as environmental concerns about the disposal of plasterboard, so removing it properly is vital. Learn how to get rid of plasterboard from your home or business safely.
Who invented plasterboard?
The first plant to manufacture plasterboard in the UK opened in 1888. Sackett Board, the first model of plasterboard, was invented by Augustine Sackett and Fred Kane in 1894. It was later developed into gypsum board more than thirty years later.
This was adopted by a US corporation that later introduced Sheetrock. The patent for plasterboard was traded over through the decades and given many different names. It was adapted each time for efficiency and to provide a quicker alternative to lath and plaster.
What is plasterboard made of? And how is plasterboard made?
Plasterboard is a type of panel commonly used in wall construction, also known as drywall. It’s made of gypsum (calcium sulphate dihydrate) that’s processed or pressed into a board and has a paper covering added.
The gypsum used to create plasterboard can be either natural or synthetic. Naturally, gypsum is derived from rock mined in Lincolnshire, Yorkshire, and Sussex. It’s made of calcium sulphate and water. Synthetically, it’s a by-product of industrial processes –commonly, flue-gas desulphurisation of power station emissions.
Is plasterboard hazardous waste?
No, plasterboard is actually a type of non-hazardous waste. However, plasterboard is banned from landfill in the UK even though it’s not a type of hazardous waste. This is because the gypsum it contains may produce hydrogen sulphide (which is toxic) when it gets wet or mixes with biodegradables like food waste.
Can you recycle plasterboard?
Yes, recycling plasterboard is the best solution in most cases. The gypsum plasterboard contains can be recovered and recycled, often used to create new plasterboard. This prevents waste plasterboard going to non-hazardous landfill cells separate from biodegradable waste, and reduces the energy required to extract new gypsum.
Plasterboard recycling solutions are available for both full and broken boards – by the sheet or the bag. So don’t worry if you’ve removed plasterboard from a building and it’s not intact – you can still recycle it.
How do you dispose of plasterboard?
The disposal of plasterboard in the UK must be done in line with relevant regulations. The Environment Agency passed legislation in 2009 that means plasterboard cannot be land-filled and must be separated for recycling and recovery. This applies to both individuals and businesses and means you cannot throw it away with your general waste.
To dispose of plasterboard, you should first check with your local household waste recycling centre to see if they offer plasterboard disposal and recycling. Many do and accept it by the sheet or bag. Otherwise, you can hire a skip when disposing of plasterboard in large amounts or use a licensed waste disposal company to collect smaller amounts.
For businesses, incorrect disposal of plasterboard could result in hefty fines. You must arrange commercial waste collection by a licensed waste carrier to remove plasterboard from your premises. Contact us at Business Waste today to learn how we can help you dispose of plasterboard.
How do you store waste plasterboard?
To store waste plasterboard with no need for an environmental permit before it’s recovered, you must comply with a few conditions in line with the UK government regulations. These are that you:
- Store no more than 20 tonnes of waste plasterboard at one time.
- Keep the plasterboard for no longer than one month.
- Have it in a secure place and within a sealed, weatherproof container.
What are the problems with plasterboard waste?
While plasterboard may not be hazardous alone, if it becomes wet or mixes with biodegradable waste such as sewage, manure, and food waste, it can start to putrefy. The putrefaction process releases hydrogen sulphide, which is toxic and can cause respiratory complications. This means it then classes as hazardous waste.
At best, it can produce an irritating rotten egg smell. At worst, it can cause nausea, headaches, sleep loss, tearing of the eyes, and airway problems for asthmatics. Therefore, safe disposal of plasterboard separate from biodegradable waste is essential to protect human and environmental health.
Are there alternatives to plasterboard?
Many people and construction firms in the UK are turning to plasterboard alternatives. These can bring life to a dull room, while being easier and safer to dispose of and recycle. A few alternatives to plasterboard include:
- Wooden planks, which are entirely recyclable and biodegradable, as well as offering a rustic touch to any room.
- Exposed concrete or brick is a rapidly growing trend and can be decorated easily with shelves, paint, and living garden walls.
- 100% recyclable plasterboard that is now available with a BES6001 ‘Very Good’ Responsible Sourcing certificate from some suppliers.
What are some facts about plasterboard?
A few facts about plasterboard are that:
- There are many different types of plasterboard, including standard, fireproof or fire-rated, acoustic, moisture-resistant, and impact-resistant.
- The major drywall manufacturers in the UK are British Gypsum, Knauf, and Siniat.
- Most standard plasterboard has a grey side and a brown side. This helps construction firms know the right way to place it – the grey side should face out because it’s designed for plastering.
Where can you take plasterboard to recycle or dispose of it for free?
Normally, you can take your plasterboard to your local household recycling and waste centre to get rid of it for free. Check in advance to ensure they accept plasterboard for disposal and recycling though, as not all do. Most centres will take your plasterboard for free though some businesses may be required to pay a small fee.
Learn about more
Find out more about other rubbish streams.
Get a fast and free quote
Get a fast FREE quote for your plasterboard waste
- Free quote within 1 hr
- Any type of waste
- FREE bins and delivery
- We cover all of the UK
Read our latest news
Use these sustainable Christmas ideas to reduce waste at home or work this festive season. Find out how to have a sustainable Christmas with this guide.