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New UK Gypsum Quality Protocol

World Cement,

A new Gypsum Quality Protocol is set to raise market confidence in recycled gypsum and increase demand for waste plasterboard. The new directive has the potential to boost sales by an estimated £10 million, and could save industries that generate waste plasterboard in excess of £8 million a year in disposal costs.

 Published by the Waste Protocols Project - a joint WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme) and Environment Agency initiative - the Quality Protocol for the Production of Recycled Gypsum from Waste Plasterboard removes the ‘waste’ tag and so negates the costs associated with waste management legislation regulating the storage and transportation of waste gypsum.

 The Quality Protocol also ensures greater market confidence in recycled gypsum by stipulating that it is produced in accordance with the British Standards Institution’s Publicly Available Specification (PAS 109:2008). 

Gypsum materials have been banned from non-hazardous landfill since the introduction of the Landfill Directive. However, until recently the Environment Agency took the view that mixed waste containing gypsum material of not more than 10% could be disposed of in this way. The removal of this ‘10% rule’ in April 2009 means that producers can only send gypsum materials to mono-cell landfill. 

Mervyn Jones, WRAP’s Joint Project Executive, said: “By establishing end-of-waste criteria and assuring standards, the Gypsum Quality Protocol makes it easier for end markets - predominantly plasterboard and cement manufacturers, and agriculture - to use recycled gypsum.

 “By increasing market confidence in recycled gypsum, generating savings for end users and increasing the value of sales of the product, the Quality Protocol could realise a net benefit to industry estimated to be £38 million between now and 2020.” 

Martin Brocklehurst, the Environment Agency’s Head of Environment and Business Partnerships, said: “Diverting more waste plasterboard away from landfill will yield considerable environmental benefits. More than 1 million t of waste plasterboard enters the UK waste stream each year and this new Quality Protocol will make it far easier to divert more of that material away from landfill and back into the production of valuable and useful products.”

 “I’m confident this newest Quality Protocol will be welcomed by businesses operating across the recycled gypsum production and distribution supply chain.”

 For manufacturers of new plasterboard, encouraging more producers of recycled gypsum to become Quality Protocol compliant will also help them to continue the momentum built up while working towards their voluntary Ashdown Agreement, which is due to be completed in March 2010. The Agreement covers targets to recover and recycle gypsum back into new plasterboard and reduce waste being sent to landfill.

 Recycled gypsum that is not Quality Protocol compliant will continue to attract regulatory costs. For example, agricultural users need to pay £546 to register for an exemption to use recycled gypsum on their land. This exemption only allows the material to be used on a maximum of 50 ha. of land.

 The Quality Protocol for the production of recycled gypsum from waste plasterboard can be downloaded from the Environment Agency website at 

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