Under the Landfill Directive, the landfilling of gypsum and other high sulphate bearing wastes with biodegradable waste has been prohibited since July 2005.
Until recently the Environment Agency for England and Wales took a pragmatic view that separate disposal was not necessary where construction waste contained small amounts (up to 10 percent) of this material, this was known as the 10 percent rule. The Agency has now revised its guidance to remove this exemption. Since 1 April 2009, the Agency will now take action, including prosecution, if waste containing gypsum is accepted into a landfill cell containing biodegradable waste.
From now on loads containing any identifiable gypsum based wastes must not be landfilled with biodegradable waste. Gypsum waste must be recovered and recycled wherever possible and where it is sent to landfill, it must be deposited in a separate cell where no biodegradable waste has been accepted.
The major plasterboard manufacturers have set up take-back service and there is a directory of companies that recycle waste plasterboard available at http://www.wrap.org.uk/construction/plasterboard/plasterboard_4.html