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Why recycle gypsum waste?

Gypsum blocks and plasterboard waste should be recycled because

  • Gypsum blocks and plasterboard waste is 100% recycable.
    » Read more below, click here

  • Presently more than 15 million tons of gypsum waste is landfilled annually in Europe, USA and Asia, and landfills are filling up everywhere. This is neither environmentally nor politically acceptable among others due to the hydrogene sulfide gas problem, allegedly caused by high sulfate containing waste like plasterboard waste.
    » Read more below, click here

  • With Gypsum Recycling International’s unique, patented technology and system, recycling of all types of gypsum waste has now become a financially viable solution
    » Read more below, click here

  • Recycling is the only solution that will preserve natural resources and help prevent shortages of raw materials
    » Read more below, click here

  • Recycling will help the plasterboard manufacturers obtain raw materials of high quality at the lowest cost

  • Recycling will improve the environmental image of the Gypsum and plasterboard industry

  • EU Directives 31, from 1999, and Directive 33 from 2002, in which gypsum waste has been classified as non-inert will further increase the cost of landfilling and hereby improve the profitability of recycling gypsum, as the implementation of the directives will lead to skyrocketing landfilling costs
    » Read more below, click here

  • Because it can be done, now!

Gypsum and plasterboard waste is 100% recyclable

The recycling system from Gypsum Recycling International assures that gypsum and plasterboard waste become 100% recyclable. The reprocessed gypsum powder which makes up app. 94% of the waste is sent back to the plasterboard manufacturer, so that they can make new plasterboards with it. The paper with related contaminants which makes up 6% of the waste can be reused in various ways, as the technology of Gypsum Recycling International assures that very little gypsum is left on the paper residual. The paper residual is among others used for composting, heat generation, building materials etc. Hereby the gypsum/plasterboard waste is recycled 100%. Nothing goes to the landfill.

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Avoid landfilling of plasterboard waste

Plasterboard/drywall is the principal wall material used in the US and Europe, except for some of the southern countries. It is made of a sheet of gypsum covered on both sides with a paper linen. In total 80 million tons of plasterboard/drywall is produced every year. Europe, US and Japan accounts for 85% of this. As most of it is still sent to landfill, this means that app. 15 mio tons of waste is being landfilled yearly, or more than 40.000 tons of waste every day.

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Hydrogen sulfide gas problems
In the US and in Europe plasterboard waste disposed of in landfills have allegedly created the dangerous Hydrogen Sulfide Gas (H2S). Hydrogen Sulfide gas is a dangeours gas that in high concentrations is lethal and in low concentration gives a rotten egg smell. The plasterboard waste in it self is not dangeours, but when the plasterboard waste is mixed with organic waste, and exposed to rain in an anerobic environment, tests have shown that hydrogen sulfide gasses can develop.

For this reason several US states are considering fully or partially banning disposal of plasterboard waste in landfills, whereas the EU have decided to avoid the risk of hydrogen sulfide gasses by regulating that plasterboard waste no longer can be disposed of in simple inert landfills and must be disposed of in controlled landfills in cells where no organic waste is present. Gypsum Recycling International is not a supporter of banning plasterboard waste from landfills, but believe that recycling activities should be supported as much as possible for the benefit of the environment.

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The unique technology is available

The concept of recycling plasterboard waste is not new. Several 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 do not have the ability to separate the paper facing away from the gypsum core, which means that a significant amount of paper fibers from the paper are found in the gypsum powder. As a consequence only up to 5% of such materials can be used in the raw materials mix at the plants applying such technology.

No plasterboard plants have the technology necessary for treating demolition waste containing contaminants like screws, nails, wall paper etc. With Gypsum Recycling International’s unique and patented technology it is possible to recycle new construction waste as well as demolition waste. In addition, the quality of the produced gypsum powder is so pure that the plasterboard plants can use 25% of recycled powder in their mix of raw materials.

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Preserve natural resources

Natural Gypsum
Gypsum (CaSO4 2H2O) is one of the most common natural minerals and is actually a form 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.

Although in good supply presently, there is only a limited supply available worldwide, so steps to preserve the natural gypsum resources should be taken. Recycled gypsum powder can replace natural gypsum rock up to 25% in the production of new plasterboard.

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Synthetic Gypsum
Synthetic gypsum, industrial gypsum, FGD (Flu Gas Desulphurised Gypsum) and DSG (Desulphurised Gypsum) are al names for gypsum which are created by man and not naturally found in mines. Synthetic gypsum is most typically created when using socalled scrubbers, of lime (Ca), in coal fired power plants to clean the smoke from sulfat (SO). The lime and sulfat combine and make synthetic gypsum (CaSO4 2 H2O) which is a high quality and very pure gypsum material. Chemically this gypsum is identical to natural gypsum.

Synthetic gypsum is not readily available to all plasterboard plants and in some areas the production of synthetic gypsum is even going down as oil and natural gas are replacing coal as the energy source in many power plants. Recycled gypsum powder can replace synthetic gypsum up til 25% in the production of new plasterboard.

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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 socalled landfill directive. According to this landfills will 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.

A type 1 landfill is basically a ”hole in the ground” and is used for waste that does not interact with other substances, for instance cement.

Type 2 is a much more expensive landfill with membrane systems, lechate control systems, prevention of air polution, separate cells for the various kinds of waste etc. It is mainly for household waste and non dangeours industrial waste.

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

As a consequence many landfills have decided to cease their operations and up to 40% of the European landfills are expected to close down as a result of the directive. Therefore the waste industry was given 10 years to comply, but the end of this period is approaching very fast now, and waste ”owners” will have to get used to paying much higher fees in the future for the disposal of their waste.

This will perhaps especially occur in the many European countries where the landfills are run by the authorities as opposed to private businesses, as the directive also dictates that from 2009 the waste ”owners” 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 will cosequently no longer occur after 2009.

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EU directive 33
In 2002 the EU further strenghtened the waste regulations by deciding which type of waste should be brought to which type of landfill (the socalled acceptance crietrias) 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.

According to the directive gypsum/plasterboard waste is categorised as non-inert, non-dangerous and must therefore go to a type 2 landfill, into a seperate cell where no biodegrable (organic) waste is present. The type 1 landfills that used to be the preferred disposal route for gypsum waste, can therefore no longer accept gypsum waste as of July 2005. Instead gypsum waste must go to the much more expensive type 2 landfills.

The directive also dictates that prior to landfilling of any waste, the waste must have undergone treatment, with sorting being the minimum treatment allowed. The widespread habit in some countries of landfilling mixed loads will therefore be stopped and it must be expected that more source separation will occur in the future. All to the benefit of the environment.

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Acceptable waste
even include gypsum
waste containing nails,
screws and various
wall coverings



A FACT


On an average day
40.000 tons of gypsum
waste (equivalent to
40.000 cars) is being
landfilled around the
globe. Every day. 365
days a year.



Landfilling can easily
be avoided...


 
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