Can I Put Plasterboard in a Skip?
Something we are often asked when arranging skip hire is ‘Can I put plasterboard in a skip?’. Plasterboard is one of the waste materials often generated during domestic and commercial refurbishment projects. It’s a restricted item that needs to be disposed of correctly, and unfortunately, you can’t put it in a skip with other waste – you can however put it in a designated skip for plasterboard.
What is plasterboard?
Plasterboard is a building material that is also sometimes called drywall or gypsum board. It’s often used to make ceilings, partitions and interior walls. The gypsum in some plasterboard comes from a naturally occurring white mineral rock, called calcium sulphate dihydrate. It can also be made synthetically by using the emissions from power stations and from by-products of other industrial and chemical processes.
How is plasterboard made?
A layer of gypsum is sandwiched between two outer layers of lining paper to make a rigid board. There are many different types of plasterboard, which vary in thickness and composition. Sometimes additional materials are added to the gypsum to create different strengths and qualities such as fire resistance or mould resistance. The mineral gypsum is the part that makes it difficult to dispose of plasterboard in skips.
Why is plasterboard banned from landfill?
The reason plasterboard must be disposed of so carefully is because of the chemical reaction that can occur when plasterboard gets wet. As a result, in 2009 the Environment Agency completely banned plasterboard from landfills.
Water reacts with the gypsum layer and it starts to break down, this produces a gas called hydrogen sulphide which is extremely dangerous, corrosive and toxic. Hydrogen sulphide gas is heavier than air, it smells of rotten eggs and can collect in invisible pools that present a risk to both human and environmental health. The gas can also be flammable and highly explosive – so it’s really not something you want to be accumulating in vast quantities.
What should I do with plasterboard?
You might wonder, if you can’t put it in a skip, what should you do with plasterboard? The most important thing to do is to keep plasterboard dry, especially if you are storing it in large quantities before disposal. Ideally, bag up smaller quantities of plasterboard to keep it away from moisture, and avoid mixing any other materials in with it.
Although it must be disposed of very carefully, the gypsum in plasterboard can actually be recycled by specialists to be reused again and again. The process of recycling gypsum into new plasterboard is relatively straightforward, so it’s a good alternative to using new raw materials, which helps to save energy and natural resources.
How do I get rid of plasterboard?
Always ensure you dispose of plasterboard via a licensed operator, and according to any restrictions or regulations they may have in place. Many local Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRC) will have a specific facility for recycling plasterboard and other materials containing gypsum. This may carry a small charge, which you’ll need to check directly with your local HWRC.
Using the professionals
There are plenty of specialist services for disposing of plasterboard, as long as it is stored separately from any other waste materials. They may also supply enclosed skips to ensure your gypsum waste does not get wet whilst waiting to be collected. If you need more advice, we’ve got other articles and information on other restricted skip items items including an article called ‘What can I put in a skip?’, and other information relating to disposing of electrical goods and bulky items like mattresses.