7th Dec 2022 -

It is illegal to dispose of plasterboard in regular landfill waste, so you must properly dispose of any excess or damaged plasterboard from your building work, regardless of whether you are an individual or a business. In this guide, we’ll cover the plasterboard regulations for disposal in the UK, any associated costs, and where to dispose of plasterboard.

Regulations Around Plasterboard Disposal in the UK

Before 2009, construction waste containing plasterboard could be disposed of in landfills as long as the plasterboard components were less than 10% of the total construction material waste. That rule has now changed, and all plasterboard must be disposed of separately through a plasterboard disposal service or a recycling service.

Plasterboard contains gypsum, a substance that is not considered hazardous waste on its own but can cause problems when not disposed of properly. When mixed with biodegradable wastes like manure and sewage, gypsum can produce hydrogen sulphide gas, which is odorous and toxic, and a threat to public health.

The current regulations are that gypsum-based materials should only be disposed of in cells of landfills where no biodegradable waste is accepted. Alternatively, gypsum can be removed from the plasterboard, allowing the rest of the materials to be recycled. This process is obviously more beneficial for the environment. 

Disposing of plasterboard by any other method is illegal and can potentially lead to fines for you or your business.

Plasterboard Disposal Regulations For Businesses

Businesses can benefit from tax credits if they send their plasterboard waste for recycling rather than to landfill. Properly recycling as a company can also boost your green credentials. The Environment Agency can hand out fines to companies that do not comply with waste disposal regulations. 

For large-scale construction projects, such as those that require a Site Waste Management Plan, which is any with a construction cost of over £300,000, there are far tighter controls over waste disposal. If so, your construction must pass its waste to an authorised carrier and have processes for separating plasterboard and recycling as much of it as possible.

installing plasterboard

How to Dispose of Plasterboard in the UK

Plasterboard can be disposed of at most council-run recycling centres. Looking through Google or your county council's website should tell you where your local household waste recycling centres are and whether or not they dispose of plasterboard. Most of these centres will be recycling plasterboard waste, though you should be able to check on the county council website if unsure. 

You can also hire a local waste disposal business, which can either give you a skip for large amounts of plasterboard waste or collect smaller amounts from you.

Plasterboard is usually disposed of by the sheet or by the bag, with recycling sites often allowing for both.

The Cost of Plasterboard Disposal or Recycling

Due to the council-based nature of plasterboard recycling and disposal, there is no centralised figure of how much it costs to dispose of plasterboard. A bag of plasterboard can cost between £3 and £4, though some councils charge by weight and have a minimum charge. 

If charging by the sheet it is worth noting that you will pay the same for a sheet regardless of whether it is a metre squared or thirty cm squared. This can easily add up if you are cutting up plasterboard sheets to fit into your car, and in such cases, it might be worth finding a service that charges by weight or charges a flat fee. If charging by the bag, council waste services will almost always be more cost-effective for small amounts.

Outside of council-run operations, you can privately dispose of plasterboard waste. A skip can cost about £250 to hire and can hold the equivalent of a hundred bags of waste, whilst also saving you the hassle of removal. Unless you have a large amount of plasterboard waste it will probably be cheaper for you to hire a rubbish removal van, which can cost about £60 an hour, though this will vary. Skip hire will only really make sense for larger construction projects, with excess gypsum-based waste to dispose of.

Some of the larger private waste companies have their recycling facilities. British Gypsum itself offers a plasterboard recycling service, albeit only to businesses. The disposal of gypsum-based plasterboard can cost quite varying amounts. It is worth assessing how much plasterboard you have to dispose of and seeking out quotes from local services to determine your best option.

Plasterboard must be recycled or specifically disposed of, whether through your local council recycling centre or a private waste disposal company. It can be expensive, and if you have a large amount of plasterboard waste it may be worth going private to avoid the quickly mounting costs of most council waste schemes.

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