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Can Drywall Be Recycled? How and Where?

Workers installing drywalls and applying mud drywall.

Yes, drywall can be recycled. How and where depends on the type of drywall. Recycling centers will often take clean, dry gypsum wallboard and reprocess it into new wallboard. You can also recycle it by repurposing it. Some companies will also pick up and recycle your drywall for you. Call around to see what options are available in your area.

Related To: How to Clean Drywall

Facts about Recycling Drywall

Worker using a hand drill for ceiling installation.

While drywall is one of the major components of construction projects, it is also one of the least likely to be recycled. The majority of drywall that is manufactured is either scrap from new construction or post-manufacturer waste.

Studies show that gypsum drywall will be anywhere from 5% to 25% of the waste stream at a construction site. After demolition, there will also be drywall leftovers, as well as scraps from construction projects.

With up to one pound of drywall per square foot of construction at construction projects, this leads to a lot of drywall being used, and needed to be recycled.

Advantages of Recycling Drywall

There are many advantages to recycling drywall. The process of recycling drywall is much cheaper than having to mine and process gypsum from scratch.

Another advantage is that recycling drywall reduces the amount of waste that is sent to landfills. It also reduces the need for mining, which can have a negative impact on the environment.

Are There Drywall Recycling Centers?

Construction drywall waste on a large box.

There are a number of recycling centers in the United State exclusively for the use in recycling drywall.

Recycling Possibilities for Drywall

New, scrap drywall that is not used can be recycled and made into more drywall. This is ideal as it is not contaminated from materials at the construction site.

Drywall that has been removed from construction sites or during demolition projects can be recycled as well. This type of drywall is more difficult to recycle as it is often contaminated with other materials such as paint, nails, or dirt.

What is Gypsum Drywall?

Gypsum drywall replaced gypsum plaster as a building material. Its chemical components are calcium sulfate and water.

Is Drywall Biodegradable?

Crushed gypsum drywall for recycling.

Yes, the paper as well as the gypsum components and water used in drywall is biodegradable.

What are the Types of Dry Wall?

There are two types of drywall: gypsum and paperboard.

Gypsum is the more common type of drywall. It’s made of a mineral called gypsum, which is found in sedimentary rock formations. Gypsum drywall is also sometimes called plasterboard, wallboard, or sheetrock.

Paperboard drywall is made with an inner layer of paper that’s sandwiched between two layers of fiberglass matting. Paperboard drywall is also sometimes called green board because it’s often used in bathrooms and other areas where there’s a lot of moisture.

How to Recycle Drywall

Drywall construction waste, and a bag of biodegradable materials.

While a small amount of paper is acceptable when recycling drywall, the majority of it needs to be removed. The paper is usually stripped off by a machine at the recycling center.

The gypsum board is then chopped into small pieces and fed into a calcining kiln. The heat from the kiln will drive off any water that is left in the gypsum board.

After the water has been driven off, the gypsum board will be ground into a powder. This powder is then fed into a boiler where it is heated to create plaster of paris.

The plaster of paris is then fed into a board-making machine where it is mixed with water and other ingredients to create new drywall boards.

The best way to recycle drywall is to take it to a recycling center that accepts this type of material. Most recycling centers will take gypsum wallboard but not paperboard.

If you can’t find a recycling center that accepts drywall, you can try repurposing it. For example, you can use small pieces of drywall to make shelving or picture frames.

You can also check with companies that pick up and recycle construction waste. Some of these companies will accept drywall.

What is Drywall Made Out of?

Drywall is made out of 90% gypsum and 10% paper.

What Are the Benefits of Recycling Drywall?

Recycling drywall diverts this material from landfill sites and reduces the need to mine new gypsum. Construction materials make up a huge proportion of

This helps to conserve resources and reduce environmental impacts. Recycling also reduces the waste disposal costs for businesses and homeowners.

How to Repurpose Drywall

A pile of used drywall gypsum board.

If you can’t recycle drywall, there are a number of ways to repurpose it. Small pieces can be used as coasters or to make shelving. Larger pieces can be used as whiteboards or bulletin boards.

You can also use drywall to make art projects or home decor items. For example, you can paint drywall and use it to make wall art. You can also cut drywall into shapes and use it to make picture frames or other home decor items.

Additionally, you can compost drywall if it is made out of paperboard. The gypsum in drywall will break down over time and provide nutrients to plants.