Council suspends recycling of waste plasterboard

Angus Council has temporarily suspended the collection of waste plasterboard at its recycling centres following clarification from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) regarding this material.

SEPA advises against the use of gypsum – a material found in plasterboard – as animal bedding as it may present a serious risk to life.

A spokesperson from SEPA said: “Disposal of bedding containing gypsum alongside slurry can lead to the production of high concentrations of hydrogen sulphide gas, which can prove fatal in confined spaces.

“There have been reports of cattle deaths in Scotland as a result, and the risk to human health is too great to allow it to continue.

“However, there are a number of alternative, legal options to dispose of waste gypsum as it can be used in cement manufacturing, plasterboard manufacturing, and as a soil conditioner.

“We understand the difficulties that local authorities and producers of waste plasterboard may face over the coming weeks and are keen to work with them to find a way forward.”

Angus Council had been sending plasterboard waste to a centre where it was reprocessed into animal bedding.

The SEPA ruling means that the council is not currently in a position to accept plasterboard as a recyclable material, until a reprocessing centre can be located where the plasterboard waste is reprocessed for other purposes.

Without a recycling route, plasterboard can only be disposed of by land filling at sites specifically licensed to receive this material.

The Angus Council landfill site at Restenneth does not hold such a licence and therefore cannot currently accept this waste.

The council, which received notification of this change from SEPA last week, has of necessity stopped receiving plasterboard at recycling centres with immediate effect, and regrets any inconvenience to customers.

The council is in consultation with SEPA and COSLA to clarify the position and identify alternative arrangement for the recycling or disposal of plasterboard.

Anyone wishing further details or advice should contact the council’s ACCESSLine on 08452 777 778.