Two innovative end markets for recycled plasterboard are being explored in new research and development (R&D) trials, funded by WRAP.
CERAM Research and Coventry University have received funding to research and develop new potential end markets in the hope of diverting used plasterboard away from landfill sites*.
In the first project, CERAM Research will be carrying out R&D to establish the potential use of recycled plasterboard in ceramic and metal casting moulds.
By adapting an existing patented process, the company is converting relatively low specification waste plasterboard to a higher value, high purity raw material suitable for making moulds for use in the casting of ceramics and aluminium components.
Following the refinement of the process in the laboratory CERAM will conduct factory-scale trials of test moulds in production environments. These will be conducted in collaboration with Wedgwood and Ideal Standard – two of the most prominent names in the ceramics industry.
Success of the project could lead to significant tonnages of waste plasterboard being diverted from landfill and benefits to the casting industries which include providing an alternative and sustainable source of mould material at a potentially lower cost.
In the second project, Coventry University will be developing cost effective, novel cementitious mixes using recycled gypsum from waste plasterboard, and a range of mineral wastes.
This project is building on existing work that Coventry University has carried out to develop composite landfill liners made from industrial by-products.
One major outcome of the original work has been a range of low-cost, low permeability cementitious materials for use as waste containment structures and barriers. The new WRAP-sponsored project seeks to extend these formulations to include plasterboard and gypsum waste materials for road foundation construction.
As part of the work, a trial site will be established either in a parking area or in a site road. This pilot study will serve as a technical demonstration of the viability of waste gypsum as a cementitious road material. As a ‘proof-of-concept’ project, it is hoped that the work will stimulate further interest in the use of recycled gypsum in engineering applications.
Dave Marsh, Plasterboard Project Officer, WRAP said: "We are pleased to announce these research projects which it is envisaged will lead to direct benefits to the industry sectors involved, whilst diverting waste plasterboard from disposal to landfill. In addition, the processes, knowledge and data developed through these projects will assist the development of the market for recycled gypsum from waste plasterboard."