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Companies to trial plasterboard recycling

Trials will explore the feasibility of recycling plasterboard waste in the hope of providing a ‘blueprint’ for organisations and local authorities to follow.

Gypsum Recycling UK (GRUK) and NTFW/Skipaway have been awarded contracts totalling £330,000 to carry out trials in different parts of the country by the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP).

At present, very few Household Recycling Centres (HRCs) segregate plasterboard from other waste, meaning that it is generally deposited in waste skips. But it is estimated up to 30,000 tonnes could be collected annually for recycling.

The trials will demonstrate and evaluate the practicalities of collecting the waste from sites and HRCs and how it can pass through the recycling chain without the need for landfilling.

WRAP material project manager for plasterboard Julian Cope said: “At the moment, little is known about the potential for collecting plasterboard and gypsum waste from HRCs in the UK, although evidence from Europe suggests that the quantities involved could be quite significant.

“These trials are therefore essential to improve our understanding, and we are confident that they will spark interest amongst many local authorities.”

GRUK’s trials will take place simultaneously at around 14 HRCs representative of a range of geographic, demographic, social economic and seasonal variations, with extracted gypsum re-used in plasterboard manufacture and other applications.

Nine HRCs in Kent will be the focus of NTFW/Skipaway’s project, with the contractor also assessing a range of equipment available to process the waste and trialling the use of recycled gypsum in civil engineering applications.

Both projects will include an active awareness campaign amongst the local populations, supported by media articles, advertising and internet-based information services.

Upon completion, the trial results will provide a ‘blueprint’ that other local authorities can quickly and easily adopt, including methodology, website pages and awareness-raising ideas.

Potential recyclers will be provided with important information on the quality of waste arisings, expected tonnages and the types of equipment needed to process the waste.

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