The Northeast Waste Management Officials’ Association (NEWMOA), with support from a $25,000 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) grant it received in 2008, has published a white paper to increase the amount of gypsum wallboard scrap that is recycled in the Northeast.
- Ban the disposal of gypsum wallboard in landfills;
- Require recycling of gypsum wallboard scrap produced by state-financed projects;
- Require waste management planning by construction industry contractors so that they are better prepared to properly manage and recycle construction and demolition debris, including wallboard;
- Develop common terminology and reporting requirements among state environmental agencies to help wallboard and other C&D waste processors and recyclers conduct business more easily in neighboring states and so that environmental agencies and others can obtain an accurate understanding of the quantities and rates of gypsum recycling in the region; and
- Develop and implement extended producer responsibility approaches to engage the manufacturers and other stakeholders in promoting increased recycling of gypsum wallboard.
Several Northeast states have already adopted some of the above strategies, for example:
- The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection has proposed a disposal ban on clean gypsum wallboard and is in the process of preparing responses to the comments received during public hearings in June 2010.
- State contracting programs in Massachusetts and Maine require C&D materials recycling in state construction projects and include new construction wallboard scrap specifically. The Massachusetts Department of Capital Asset Management recently revised its specifications for construction waste management and disposal to include a requirement to divert all clean gypsum wallboard scrap generated on projects greater than 20,000 square feet from disposal to recycling or re-use outlets. The Maine Department of Environmental Protection is working on a memorandum of agreement with Maine’s Bureau of General Services that would result in recycling of waste wallboard from construction projects at state buildings.
- Vermont and Maine have laws that require large development projects to obtain a comprehensive permit from their respective states. In Vermont, projects greater than 10,000 square feet must undergo a state permit process known as Act 250. In Maine, projects that will affect more than 3 acres must be approved by the state. In both states, part of this process includes development of a waste management plan that strives to minimize C&D debris disposal including gypsum wallboard.
- The Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection established a gypsum wallboard recycling stakeholders group to begin to identify challenges and opportunities to increase recycling of wallboard in the state.