Recycling waste drywall was a viable and growing sector until the financial crisis of 2008. Then it immediately declined along with the entire construction and demolition (C&D) industry. However, as landfill restrictions prohibiting drywall increase, it could very well become a booming sector of the recycling industry.
“We’re still here despite the drop in construction. Last year we recycled approximately 20,000 tons,” said Rick Sauder, project manager for USA Gypsum, headquartered in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. His company gathers scraps of new drywall from large construction projects around the northeast and converts it into agricultural fertilizer and animal bedding, primarily for the dairy industry.
USA Gypsum does not want demolition drywall. It may contain paint, possibly lead-based paints, asbestos joint compounds, fiberglass, or other contaminants that may test as hazardous waste.
“New and old drywall must be separated before recycling and tested. If contaminated, then it must be treated and disposed of as hazardous waste,” said Beatriz Sandoval at the CalRecycle Department of Resources, Recycling and Recovery. ...read more
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Haiti in the aftermath – recycling a city?
People looked on in shock at the horrific devastation in Haiti. The capital city of Port Au Prince looked like it was hit by a giant wrecking ball. Whatever has been left standing by the 7.0 earthquake and numerous aftershocks is likely cracked beyond repair and will have to be demolished.
Close up shots from news footage reveal low quality concrete, cement and mud block construction. A closer look shows little or no rebar and lightweight wire mesh reinforcement. Port Au Prince, the largest city and principle port, developed slowly from Colonial times on a well laid out grid pattern, but with barely any construction codes or standards. Because it has been a historically poor country, building was done on the cheap. Many structures were also weakened by earlier earthquakes, hurricanes, civil strife and fires.
Greg Moro, operations manager for Independence Recycling of Florida (IRF) has been working on a plan to move two mobile crushing and screening plants to Port Au Prince to recycle earthquake debris for use in new construction. “I have had three groups approach us about going down to Haiti. One is a group from Utah, Proactive Energy Concepts, is working through retired General Leslie Clark to put a package together to go to Haiti for a 10-year recovery program. The first part of their program is demolition and clean-up, providing saltwater desalinization and wind and solar energy. We fit into the early phase of this program and don’t know how long we would be there. They want us to demolish buildings and recycle them into whatever useable products we can make, for example aggregates to be used in new concrete for future development.” ...read more