Among the most common of construction materials is drywall, which is used in most all modern construction projects. It is estimated that 40 tons of drywall, or gypsum, is thrown into a landfill every year. Gypsum is also very versatile as a recycling material and can be made into several new materials.
Drywall recycling means that waste that would otherwise have been disposed of in landfills now is being recycled and turned into a gypsum powder that the drywall manufacturers can use when making new boards. Not only does drywall recycling prevent waste from being deposited unnecessarily in landfills, to the benefit of the environment, but the recycled waste will reduce the need for manufacturers to acquire natural gypsum resources. On top of that drywall waste in landfills under certain circumstances is known to cause hydrogen sulfite gases, which potentially are lethal, and obviously by recycling drywall waste instead, such dangerous situations can be avoided.
The mineral gypsum has many uses in today’s society. In addition to the manufacture of drywall for building construction, gypsum is also widely used as a soil amendment, in the production of cement, and as an ingredient in the manufacture of many types of commercial products. Since the gypsum makes up approximately 90% of the weight of a piece of drywall, if the gypsum can be recovered from the drywall, the majority of the material can be recycled. Scrap gypsum drywall is currently being recycled in several different ways, including:
- The manufacture of new drywall
- Use as an ingredient in the production of cement
- Application to soils and crops to improve soil drainage and plant growth
- A major ingredient in the production of fertilizer products
- An additive to composting operations
Contact your local recycling center to get more information about drywall recycling including quantity limits and rules on contamination limits of drywall.