Plasterboard is showing up as something of a problem for eventual disposal because of the high levels of sulphate. In England and Wales, since the 1st of April 2009, high sulphate wastes sent to landfill must go to a ‘high sulphate monocell’ specifically designed for sulphate wastes (Check with your local waste and recycling facility).
There are, however, government initiatives afoot in the form of the Plasterboard Sustainability Action Plan to encourage industry to recycle more of the million tons a year of plasterboard waste, or alternately some suppliers have put in place their own recycling schemes, eg Lafarge.
The plasterboard industry has generally been slow to implement a recycling strategy.
Indeed the plasterboard manufacturers can hardly be said to be transparent about their policies and in the past the almost national monopolies of these companies have come into question. In 2002 the four main plasterboard manufacturers (BPB, Knauf, Lafarge and Gyproc) were given enormous fines by the EU for price fixing through a cartel extending throughout most of Europe. This gives an indication of how some of the largest materials suppliers work together and may be too entrenched in their manner of operation to want to see change
There are more eco-friendly alternatives to plasterboard such as Fermacell and Heraklith BM but as the latter are imported from Germany they tend to be more expensive and have ecological transport costs.
fermacell is a gypsum/celulose lining board made in Germany to a high ecological standard using recycled materials. See more information on fermacell
The main uses of plasterboard are:
providing fire resistance[for the purposes of part B of the Approved Documents] - The ability of a component or construction of a building to satisfy, for a stated period of time, some or all of the appropriate criteria specified in the relevant part of BSBritish Standard 476. to walls and ceilings more +/-»
creating a flat smooth surface which can be plastered or decorated directly more +/-»
adding acoustic insulation
adding thermal massthis is about how much heat something can absorb - so it involves its specific heat capacity and its volume. It can be useful for levelling out the peaks and troughs of temperature within a house. See the page on
thermal massmore +/-»
The Building RegulationsThese are the legal regulations which govern how a house is constructed. (not to be confused with Planning Permission which is about whether you are allowed to build the house at all or what it might look like) see Building Regulations), Approved DocumentThese are a part of the Building Regulations which ensure, if you follow them, that your plans will be automatically approved. The full set of the documents is available here B (sections B2 and B3) stipulates how much fire resistance different parts of a building require and what the Spread of Flame limitations are. It is very often possible to achieve the requirements by adding one or more layers of plasterboard.Powered by Hackadelic Sliding Notes 1.6.5
Plasterboard is paper faced with one side being of relatively good quality so that it can take paint directly. This is the method of finish being adopted by many of the SIPSStructural Insulated Panels - prefabricated (usually in a factory) timber panels often forming part of an integrated building system and aimed at fast site erection. see more on SIPs manufacturers and by Walter Seagal self builders. The more traditional method is to hand apply two coats of plaster (undercoat of browning, top coat of finish) and then decorate. If the former method is used then joints are normally feather edged and taped and filled (or simply covered with a timber cover strip); if the traditional method is used then they are simply tapedPowered by Hackadelic Sliding Notes 1.6.5
This is a slightly controversial subject because it has been and still is somewhat difficult to quantify although upcoming software is getting better at it. Thermal mass is normally a very useful component in stabilizing temperatures in a building because excess heat goes into the walls and ceilings and is stored there until the temperature drops. What is difficult to calculate is how deep it goes into the surfaces before it starts coming out again. See Thermal Mass. Arguably the diurnal temperature cycle is the most important one in this context and although the layer of thermal mass provided by plasterboard (and plaster) is relatively thin, it is situated in the optimum location to have the maximum effect (on the surface). For instance the total mass of plasterboard used in a two storey[for the purposes of part B (fire) of the Approved Documents to the Building Regulations] this means a. any gallery[for the purposes of part B of the Approved Documents] - A raised area or platform around the sides or at the back of a room which provides extra space. Habitable room A room used, or intended to be used, for dwellinghouse[for the purposes of part B of the Approved Documents] -
A unit of residential accommodation occupied (whether or not as a sole or main residence):
a. by a single person or by people living together as a family
b. by not more than six residents living together as a single household, including a household where care is provided for residents. (See also paragraphs 0.22 and 0.23.)
Dwellinghouse does not include a flat or a building containing a flat. purposes (including; for the purposes of Part B, a kitchen, but not a bathroom). if its area is more than half that of the space into which it projects; and b. a roof, unless it is accessible only for maintenance and repair. four bedroom timber frame house (as required for fire protection) may well be around 3 – 5 tonnes, which gives considerable thermal mass Powered by Hackadelic Sliding Notes 1.6.5