MEL Health and Safety Consultants

Changes to Gypsum Waste Regulations

Toxic Gases Produced when Landfilled with Biodegradable Waste

The Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2007, which come into force in April 2009, set out waste acceptance criteria for gypsum waste (including waste plasterboard) at landfill sites.


Co-disposal of gypsum waste with biodegradable waste can result in the production of an odorous and toxic gas (hydrogen sulphide) and as a result, the landfilling of gypsum with biodegradable waste has been banned in England and Wales since 2005.


Non-hazardous gypsum-based materials should be disposed of only in landfills for non-hazardous waste and in cells where no biodegradable waste is accepted.


Research has determined that there is no minimum quantity of gypsum below which no hydrogen sulphide gas will be produced. In order to reduce the potential for hydrogen sulphide production, the Environment Agency has therefore revised its guidance to remove the 10% guideline value previously allowed. The Agency’s position now is that, as it is impossible to set a practicable tolerance limit for gypsum waste, waste containing identifiable gypsum-based materials must not be landfilled with biodegradable waste.