The WRAP-funded trials found that the adaptation of existing site practices could ensure low, or even zero, contamination in the waste collected for recycling. The transfer of small quantities of plasterboard to a waste transfer station could also be done in a way that was cost-effective for the contractor.
WRAP construction project officer Dave Marsh said: Plasterboard waste has generally been considered a low value material, but with waste disposal costs steadily rising, WRAP is developing plasterboard recycling as an alternative to landfill. Until now, it was believed that collection issues prevented refurbishment companies from becoming actively involved in recycling.
Led by waste management consultants Oakdene Hollins, the trials involved collecting waste plasterboard from city centre refurbishment projects at 13 sites across London.
The aim was to help contractors overcome recycling barriers which include space constraints for skips, short project time frames, and wide variability in the volume, quality and type of plasterboard waste generated, requiring a flexible collection system.
The positive results showed that the majority of waste plasterboard generated during the strip-out and re-fit stages, such as wall partitions and ceilings, could be recovered for recycling. It identified that only 20 tonnes a week needed to be bulked by the waste transfer station for the costs of recycling to be comparable to mixed landfill disposal.
Recycling plasterboard waste from refurbishment sites can be downloaded from www.wrap.org.uk/construction