Plasterboard is a popular material in modern construction, being used for a wide variety of things from wall lining, partitions to sound control and fire protection. Whilst its popularity enables its users with a cheap and easy material to work with, it can cause havoc when it comes to disposing of plasterboard, which is why when it’s thrown away, it is often referred to as hazardous waste.

Plasterboard is made from several layers, with the inner layer being made from gypsum that is glued to two outer layers of lining paper. When it comes to disposing of plasterboard, it is the gypsum that is problematic. 

Gypsum as a material is biodegradable when disposed of in landfills, however, it can lead to the production of hydrogen sulphide gas which is both odorous and toxic. It is estimated that over 270 million m2 of plasterboard is manufactured annually which ends up using around 3 million tonnes of gypsum. 

The management of plasterboard disposal has had to be clarified by the Environment Agency, as in 2021, The Environment Agency has moved to clarify the rules for waste holders who intend to send gypsum-based waste to landfill.

The Agency has stated: “You must not send gypsum-based waste (for example, plasterboard) to a landfill cell that accepts biodegradable waste.”

“You must separate it for reuse or recovery to comply with the waste hierarchy. Where you cannot separate it, you must send mixed waste that contains gypsum to a landfill cell that contains no biodegradable waste, for example a stable non-reactive hazardous waste cell.”

Overhead view of trucks on landfill site.

Plasterboard can cause havoc at a landfill site if processed incorrectly.

A recent case in the Midlands has shown that improper management of plasterboard disposal to landfill can cause havoc for the community around it, as a landfill in Staffordshire has been the source of foul odours, severe enough to warrant intervention by the Environment Agency. The EA inspection has led to the discovery of waste odours that were at a level that is likely to cause pollution much further than the site’s area.

We at REMONDIS, work under stringent guidance that is set out by the Landfill Directive. The Landfill Directive applies a number of restrictions that waste companies must apply to the management of waste.

These have been transposed in the UK through several landfill regulations and include:

  • The targets for the diversion of municipal biodegradable waste from landfill
  • The banning of certain wastes – such as tyres – from landfill
  • A ban on the mixing of hazardous and non-hazardous wastes at landfill
  • And the treatment of all waste prior to landfill

Most of these requirements have been introduced in a staged manner over the period from 2002 to 2005. As of 30 October 2007, two of the final requirements of these regulations came into force:

  • The banning of non-hazardous liquids to landfill
  • All non-hazardous waste has to be treated before being disposed of to landfill

The purpose of the treatment required is to reduce the impact of waste that has to be landfilled and to increase the amount of waste that is recycled. Whilst there is no immediate regulation in terms of odour levels, pollution is a huge issue when it comes to landfills which is why we follow such stringent guidelines with the sites we operate on. 

REMONDIS offer a fully compliant and reliable collection service for plasterboard. 100% of the plasterboard that we collect is sent for specialised reprocessing and appropriate reuse. 

Plasterboard is one of the most widely disposed of construction materials, and as such has a very high chance of ending up in a landfill if not dealt with properly, which also has a very negative environmental impact.  Here at REMONDIS, we’re at the forefront of plasterboard disposal, offering effective, compliant services for both commercial and domestic clients.

Our team can help to guide & discuss how our services can benefit your business by ensuring you meet your responsibilities as a waste producer and protect your business from prosecution.  We have multiple options to assist you with your plasterboard disposal requirements, so give us a call and see how we can help.