Builders merchant group Jewson is working with the Environment Agency to raise awareness amongst customers of the correct way to dispose of plasterboard and plaster products.
Jointly produced leaflets are currently available throughout the branch network detailing how to dispose of products containing gypsum, how to find the nearest recycler and how recycling plasterboard products is much less expensive than sending them to landfill.
The Environment Agency has confirmed that gypsum waste that cannot be recycled must be deposited in a separate landfill cell with non-biodegradable waste. The move is required by the Landfill Directive to encourage the reuse and recycling of the material which, in turn, reduces the level of toxic hydrogen sulphide gas that can be produced as a bi-product of landfilling gypsum.
Steve Millward, sustainability and quality director at Jewson, says: “Separating plasterboard waste from other wastes on site, regardless of the amount, is now a requirement that supports the sustainability agenda on many levels. Jewson fully supports the move and believes that by making minor changes to current practice, tradespeople can save money whilst supporting the environment.”
Peter Elliott, landfill policy advisor at the Environment Agency, said: “Up to April this year we had taken a pragmatic view that separate disposal was not necessary for construction waste containing low levels of gypsum. However, new science confirmed that the relationship between the amount of sulphate in waste and the production of hydrogen sulphide gas is complex. We can not therefore set an acceptable limit within which gypsum can be deposited with biodegradable waste without creating this gas.
“We want to encourage the reuse and recycling of more plaster board, gypsum and other high sulphate-bearing waste while reducing the potential production of hydrogen sulphide gas at landfill.”