How Can Recycled Plasterboard Be Re-used?

Posted by Blog Team | Posted in Expertise, Sustainability | Posted on 18-02-2015

shutterstock_86150269In our last blog post (Why we all need to Go Green for Plasterboard) we established that you cannot take waste plasterboard to a normal landfill site as this is potentially harmful to the environment. If, like us, you’re committed to continually improving your environmental performance, you’ll be curious to know how it can be re-used.

Firstly, there are a number of waste management companies, like British Gypsum or McGrath that can collect waste plasterboard from your site at a time that’s convenient for you. Once you’ve arranged for your waste plasterboard to be taken away and recycled, it’ll be treated and then used to:

  • Make cement
  • Improve soil quality
  • Produce more plasterboard

Its properties mean it has potential to perform in even more ways. That’s why there’s plenty of research going on behind the scenes to find other practical uses for it. You can get further insight on this research by visiting the WRAP website.

Used plasterboard as cement

It’s the small amounts of gypsum contained in plasterboard that’s the most important component here. Gypsum controls the setting of cement – without it, cement would set much quicker after water is mixed with it, making it easier to work with.

Used plasterboard as soil improver

Can the things that make up the walls inside our homes and offices really make a difference in agriculture? They have been doing for thousands of years. Gypsum consists of hydrated calcium sulphate, and both calcium and sulphur are essential plant nutrients.

Some soil and plants benefit more than others, and research has shown that it’s particularly good for growing potatoes and mushrooms.

Used plasterboard as new plasterboard

More than 15 million tonnes of gypsum waste goes to landfill across Europe, USA and Asia every year. That’s unacceptable when you consider that so much of it is recyclable. Reprocessing recovers the gypsum powder, which can be used directly as raw material by plasterboard manufacturers.

As an absolute minimum, all waste plasterboard should be at least recycled into new plasterboard. Just imagine how many more construction projects could benefit from that 15 million tonnes of waste.

You won’t be able to look at plasterboard the same way again!

Next: How to reduce waste plasterboard and benefit from it