Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

Plaster and plasterboard used in construction

Plaster and plasterboard: use and disposal

If you send non-hazardous waste containing any amount of gypsum to landfill it must go to a separate cell for high sulphate waste, or to a non-hazardous landfill where no biodegradable waste is accepted. You must dispose of gypsum-based materials that are classified as hazardous waste in a hazardous waste landfill.

What you must do

Make sure that you set aside a dry storage area for bagged plaster mix. This will reduce wastage and may save you money.

Do not wash mixed or dry plaster into drains or surface waters as this can cause water pollution.

You can recycle clean, uncontaminated plasterboard. Speak to your supplier for more information.

Allow wet, mixed plaster to go off before disposal. You must not dispose of liquid wastes to landfill.

You must separate plaster, plasterboard and other gypsum products from your general wastes, as they contain high levels of sulphate.

You must dispose of non-hazardous gypsum-based materials only in landfills for non-hazardous waste, in cells where no biodegradable waste is accepted. You must dispose of gypsum-based materials that are classified as hazardous waste in hazardous waste landfills.

NIEA: Recycled gypsum from waste plasterboard 

Scotland: The disposal in landfills of gypsum wastes (Adobe PDF - 24KB)

Good practice

The Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA), the Environment Agency and WRAP have developed a Quality Protocol for producing and using products made from gypsum from waste plasterboard, for Northern Ireland. Uses include:

  • as a raw material in the manufacture of new gypsum-based products
  • as a soil treatment agent
  • as an additive in cement clinker.

If you follow the protocol, the gypsum will no longer be classified as waste, so it can be used without waste management controls.

For example, if it is not classed as a waste, you do not need to transport it using a waste carrier or with a waste transfer note.

NIEA: Waste quality protocols

In Scotland SEPA has produced a policy statement for manufacturing gypsum from waste plasterboard. If you produce gypsum by complying with the statement, it will no longer be classified as waste, so it can be used without waste management controls.

For example, if it is not classed as a waste, you do not need to transport it using a waste carrier or with a waste transfer note.

SEPA: Gypsum from waste plasterboard (Adobe PDF - 97KB)

Further information

Wrap: Plasterboard recycler directory

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