Each year, an estimated 10 million tons of drywall is discarded. That’s a lot of construction waste! Drywall undergoes many uses in remodels, it’s commonly used in building new homes, and there are large quantities of it being produced at plants around the world.
But is drywall recyclable? It was initially used in houses because of its low cost and good soundproofing properties. However, its strength and insulation qualities made it ideal for use in commercial construction, where extended wall-to-wall uses are practical.
And while old drywall has a myriad of benefits and desirable properties, it is important to know whether it can be recycled. The environment is affected by everything we do and every decision made.
Can you recycle drywall?
The primary component is drywall is gypsum. Gypsum, a major component of plaster, (it comes from the processing of natural gypsum) is used in the manufacture of drywall because it has excellent insulation and soundproofing properties. In homes, drywall is most often used in wall or ceiling construction.
Now drywall can pose a health hazard to human beings, wildlife and the environment. For that reason, it’s essential to have an idea of the proper way to dispose of it. Is drywall recyclable? Yes, you can recycle drywall but this cannot be done through curbside collection programs, in addition drywall anchors can be reused.
Drywall is recyclable but it often ends up in landfills, which can contaminate groundwater, lakes and streams. It has the potential of releasing harmful chemicals into the environment via landfill disposal sites. As a result, recycling this material may be the best way to keep our environment safe.
To recycle it, you will need to collect the material and take it to a drywall recycling centre. Most states have one or more drywall recycling programs that accept material for recycling. You may also be able to take it to a local dump site that collects construction debris and may accept your material there.
Here is a list of drywall that can be recycled:
|Type of Drywall||Recyclable|
|Regular Drywall (gypsum board)||Yes|
If you have any doubts, consult with the local council for the program’s details and appropriate procedures for recycling it. While not all cities recycle drywall, many do. The best approach is to first check with the local recycling facility to determine if they will accept your drywall for recycling.
How is drywall recycled?
Oftentimes, recyclers have designated drop-off locations for drywall. From there, the material is taken to a recycling facility where it’s crushed into small bits. As a construction material, there will be contaminants and items such as screws and nails. They use magnets to separate the metal from the drywall. Any kind of shard of metal is removed from the material.
The next step involves filtering out the paper and sending it to the paper recyclers. What’s left is pure gypsum. After the contamination is removed from the material, it has a much better chance of being recycled into new drywall as opposed to ending up in a landfill.
Gypsum also has other uses. It is used in the manufacture of fertilizers. It is also used in the production of plaster and cement.
Because drywall is composed of gypsum, it has a high rate of recyclability. Recyclers reuse 90 per cent of the material that they collect.
Why you should recycle drywall
To prevent the contamination of our waterways, lakes and streams from drywall, recycling this material is the best option. Drywall may also be transported over great distances and disposed of in landfills that are not close to where it was originally produced. So by recycling drywall products, we can lessen these negative effects on our environment.
Another reason why we need to recycle drywall is to promote the reuse of this material. In the past, drywall was used once and thrown away.
Recycling drywall allows us to keep this material from being disposed of in landfills and helps keep it out of our natural environment.
Recycling saves energy and resources. Much of the drywall that is wasted during a remodelling project can be reused to create new drywall or other home improvement projects, like a room addition, which uses much less energy and less material than drywall replacement.
On top of that, it is better for the environment because this material does not end up in a landfill if you choose to recycle it.
Drywall recycling centres
There are several drywall recycling centres in the United States. You can find the one closest to you by checking the Earth911 website. Here are a few recommendations;
Urban Gypsum Recycling, Oregon
This facility provides the recycling of drywall. They aim to recover gypsum and distribute it to agricultural and industrial clients. This program has been successful in keeping drywall out of landfills. The gypsum from the recycled drywall is used to make fertilizers, which is also a benefit to the environment.
Zanker Recycling, California
This facility accepts drywall for recycling. Zanker Recycling accepts drywall from both commercial and residential sources. They have several drop-off sites throughout the state of California for recycling purposes, which is convenient for people living in those areas.
National Gypsum Co., North Carolina
This recycling company takes waste wallboard left behind on construction sites. In the past, most of this material ended up in landfills or incineration facilities. Now, it is recycled and repurposed into wallboard for new construction projects. They purchase the waste wallboard from construction sites located in New Hampshire and Massachusetts.
Drywall recycling is important for our environment. By recycling, we prevent the contamination of our natural resources from this material. This includes waterways and lakes, which are used for recreation and supplying drinking water.
Local areas have programs that collect drywall to reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfills or incineration facilities. Local drywall recycling is a great relief to those people who live around the area where such programs exist.
What can I do with leftover drywall?
Keep it for future remodelling projects or recycle it if you can. If you can’t recycle it, know what to do with it when you’re ready to throw it out.
Can I recycle drywall?
Yes. Local recycling centres accept drywall for recycling. However, check the centre’s website or call before dropping off your drywall for recycling and make sure they are taking the type of drywall that you have at the time.
Is drywall harmful to the environment?
Drywall is a form of gypsum, which is readily recyclable in the United States. However, the waste associated with it can lead to contamination of our water sources and other areas in the environment.