10 March 2014
A trial initiative is being launched from Monday 7 April which will see the building industry's waste being turned into compost for the agricultural industry.
From 7 April, Transport and Technical Services (TTS) will only accept clean plasterboard at a dedicated area of La Collette commercial green waste composting site. Around 95% of plasterboard is gypsum, which contains nutrients that farmers say are needed. Waste plasterboard will be shredded, mixed with green waste to create a gypsum-enhanced compost, and supplied to Jersey's agricultural industry.
Currently, TTS accepts all plasterboard and then pays for it to be cleaned before exporting it to the UK for recycling. Under the new policy, businesses that deliver plasterboard that contains contaminants such as foam and foil backing will have their loads rejected at La Collette and will be expected to have it cleaned themselves.
Emma Richardson-Calladine, Recycling Manager, TTS said "Recycling local waste plasterboard into a product that has a local benefit is extremely exciting and demonstrates how waste is a resource rather than rubbish. However, the success of this trial depends on the building industry as we will only be able to use clean plasterboard and unfortunately if we are unable to collect plasterboard that is free of foam and foil backing, we will have to revert to exporting plasterboard for specialist recycling and implementing the original charge."
Cost of plasterboard waste
At the moment, businesses pay £13.42 per tonne, regardless of whether the plasterboard is clean or dirty. From 7 April, TTS will extend the commercial green waste charge of £19 per tonne (including GST) to plasterboard.
However, if the trial is unsuccessful and TTS returns to exporting plasterboard, then the previously advertised plasterboard recycling charge of £101.40 per tonne (including GST) will be introduced. The higher figure is a more accurate reflection of the cost of cleaning and exporting the waste.
The use of recycled plasterboard gypsum as a soil conditioner is already common practice in the UK and indications from the work TTS has carried out with various States of Jersey departments and the agricultural industry are extremely positive. The trial will continue until the end of May when TTS will review the feasibility of finding a long term local solution to plasterboard recycling.