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Why recycle gypsum waste?

Plasterboard and gypsum block waste and should be recycled because:

  • Plasterboard and gypsum block waste are 100% recyclable. Read more
  • Presently more than 15 million tons of gypsum waste is land filled annually in Europe, USA and Asia. This is not acceptable from an environmental and political view as plasterboard waste has a high content of sulphate which can lead to hydrogen sulphide gas problems in the landfills.  Read more
  • With Gypsum Recycling International’s unique, patented technology recycling of all types of gypsum waste is now a sustainable and financially viable solution.  Read more
  • Recycling is the only solution that preserves natural resources and prevents future shortages of raw materials. Read more
  • Recycling helps plasterboard manufacturers to source raw materials of high quality at the lowest cost. Read more
  • Recycling improves the environmental image of the gypsum and plasterboard industry. Read more
  • EU Directives no. 31 from 1999 and no. 33 from 2002 classifies gypsum as non-inert. By implementation of the directives the costs of land filling will skyrocket.  Read more
  • Because we can!

Gypsum and plasterboard waste is 100 pct. Recyclable

Gypsum Recycling International with our patented technology make gypsum and plasterboard waste 100 pct. recyclable. Reprocessing 100 tons of gypsum waste recovers 90 tons of recycled gypsum powder to be used directly as raw material by the plasterboard manufacturers. The residual is 10 tons of recycled paper that is used for composting, heat generation, building materials etc. Hence the gypsum and plasterboard waste is recycled 100 pct. And nothing needs to be land filled.
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Avoid land filling of plasterboard waste

Plasterboard and drywall is the principal wall material used in the US and Europe, except for some of the southern countries. In total 80 mill. tons of plasterboard and drywall is produced every year. Europe, US and Japan accounts for 85 pct. of this. As most of it is still sent to landfill, this means that app. 15 mill. tons of waste is being land filled yearly, or more than 40.000 tons of waste every day.
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Hydrogen sulphide gas problems

In the US and in Europe plasterboard waste disposed of in landfills has created the dangerous Hydrogen Sulphide Gas (H2S). Hydrogen Sulphide gas, is dangerous to the health, smells like rotten eggs in low concentrations and in high concentrations it is lethal. Gypsum waste in itself is harmless. But when mixed with organic waste and exposed to rain in an anaerobic environment that hydrogen sulphide gasses are likely to develop.

Given this environmental hazard several US states considers a full or partially ban of plasterboard waste in landfills. The EU has decided that plasterboard must be disposed of in controlled landfill in separate cells where no organic waste is present in order to prevent the production of hydrogen sulphide gasses. At Gypsum Recycling International we believe that recycling should be supported actively for the benefit of the environment.
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A unique recycling technology is available

The concept of recycling plasterboard waste is not new. European and American plasterboard manufacturers have for years implemented processing technologies to turn their own production waste into usable raw materials. Most of the technology installed at the plasterboard plants does not have the ability to separate the paper facing from the gypsum core. This means that a significant amount of paper fibres remains in the recycled gypsum powder. When using the less sophisticated processing equipment found at the plasterboard plants the paper fibre contamination allows only up to 5 pct. of their recycled gypsum powder to be mixed with virgin gypsum for production of new plasterboards.

Gypsum Recycling International’s unique and patented technology, however, makes it is possible to recycle new construction waste as well as demolition waste effectively removing contaminants like screws, nails and wall paper. The purity of our gypsum powder is so high that the plasterboard manufacturers can use above 30 pct. of this type of recycled powder in a mix with virgin gypsum.
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Preserve natural resources

Natural Gypsum

Gypsum is one of the most common natural minerals and a type of rock. It is available in mines in several countries. The major producers of rock gypsum are countries like Thailand, Spain, Mexico and the US.

Steps to preserve the natural gypsum resources should be taken. Although in good supply presently, there is only a limited supply available worldwide. Therefore it is important that recycled gypsum powder now can replace above 30 pct. of the natural gypsum rock in the raw material for plasterboard production.

Synthetic Gypsum

Synthetic gypsum, industrial gypsum, FGD (Flu Gas Desulphurised Gypsum) and DSG (Desulphurised Gypsum) are all names for gypsum that is manmade and not naturally found in mines. Synthetic gypsum typically is created when using scrubbers of lime in coal fired power plants to clean the smoke for sulphate. The lime (Ca) and sulphate (SO) in combination with water (H2O) produces very pure and high quality synthetic gypsum (CaSO42H2O). Chemically this gypsum is identical to natural gypsum.

Synthetic gypsum is not readily available to all plasterboard plants as it is only produced in some countries. In some markets production of synthetic gypsum is already decreasing heavily as bio fuels and natural gas are replacing coal in many power plants. In 20 to 30 years synthetic gypsum will no longer be produced as fossil fuels will be phased out of use in the power plants.
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EU Directives 31, from 1999, and Directive 33 from 2002

In 1999 the EU decided to upgrade all the landfills in the member states within 2009 and passed the so called landfill directive. According to this landfills have to be categorised according to three types and live up to the requirements of one of these 3 types. Consequently from 2009 only three types of landfills will exist in Europe: Type 1: Inert landfills. Type 2: Non-inert, non-hazardous landfills and type 3: Hazardous landfills.

Type 1 is basically ‘a hole in the ground’ and is used to land fill waste that does not interact with other substances, so called inert waste.

Type 2 is a much more expensive landfill with membrane systems, leakage control systems, prevention of air pollution, separate cells for the various kinds of waste etc. It is mainly for household waste and non dangerous industrial waste and now also for gypsum waste.

Type 3 is for dangerous waste.
The consequences of this directive are overwhelming as virtually all landfills need to invest to live up to the new, stricter requirements.

Following the full implementation of the two directives (some countries are delayed) 40 pct. of the European landfills are expected to close down. Consequently waste ‘owners’ will pay much higher future prices for the disposal of their waste.

This especially occurs in the many European countries where the landfills are run by the authorities as opposed to private businesses. The directive also dictates that waste ‘owners’ from 2009 must pay the full price for the disposal of the waste including a consideration for a final closure of the landfill. Subsidised pricing of landfills consequently no longer occurs after 2009.
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EU directive 33

In 2002 the EU further strengthened the waste regulations by deciding which type of waste should be brought to which type of landfill (the so called acceptance criteria) and what treatment the waste should undergo prior to being sent to landfills. The EU only allowed until July 2005 for the implementation of this directive. However, some member states have by 2013 still not implemented the directive

According to the directive gypsum and plasterboard waste is categorised as non-inert, non-dangerous and must therefore go to a Type 2 landfill, but only into a separate cell where no biodegradable (organic) waste is present. The Type 1 landfills that used to be the preferred disposal route for gypsum waste no longer is allowed to receive gypsum waste. Instead gypsum waste now goes to the much more expensive Type 2 landfills.

The directive also dictates that prior to land filling of any waste the waste must have undergone treatment, with sorting being the minimum treatment acceptable. The widespread habit in some countries of land filling mixed loads therefore stops and it must be expected that more source separation will occur in the future so that the waste will be more readily available for recycling. All to the benefit of the environment.
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