Rockwood Sustainable Solutions Opens Tennessee’s First Drywall Recycling Facility


Rockwood Sustainable Solutions recently announced the opening of Tennessee’s first drywall recycling facility. The innovative Lebanon facility now accepts scrap drywall from drywall installers, contractors, and drywall manufacturers, as well as broken drywall boards from distributors, thus keeping a prolific waste stream out of the landfill. In addition to extending the landfill’s life, removing drywall can reduce landfill odors, because when the gypsum gets wet it can create hydrogen sulfide, producing a rotten egg smell. Additionally, Rockwood has partnered with another Lebanon company, Arrowhead Ag, for the beneficial re-use of the product. Arrowhead makes soil amendments for the agriculture industry, including soil conditioners for farmers, growers, and landscape contractors. 

According to the Gypsum Association there are 2.3 billion m2 of gypsum board produced annually. This is then installed in commercial and residential facilities. A general rule of thumb is to purchase 10-12% more than needed to accommodate off-cuts, trimmings, and waste. That adds up to a lot of scrap drywall especially when you add in the broken pieces from the drywall distributor and scrap from the manufacturing plant.

To start the recycling process, drywall is collected in roll-off containers by Rockwood or brought in by other haulers. When it arrives in the Lebanon plant, workers sort the materials and remove any contaminants. The drywall is then processed for initial size reduction. This size-reduction eliminates the bulky aspect of the material and makes it easier to handle and transport. It is then shipped to Arrowhead Ag for further processing to their specs and requirements.

Arrowhead Ag will further process the drywall, pulverizing it finer then screening out the paper. The ground gypsum will be utilized as soil amendments and fertilizer for the agricultural industry, while the paper will be used to make animal bedding. Creating beneficial uses for the product is important, because it creates a valuable end of life option for waste drywall. It is also important to Arrowhead which now has a steady supply of feedstock.

Source: Rockwood Sustainable Solutions

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