JULY 2010

USA Gypsum celebrates 10 years of drywall recycling

USA Gypsum, one of the only drywall recycling plants in the Commonwealth, isn’t waiting for the recycling wave to hit the drywall industry. Terry Weaver, owner of the facility, isn’t one to wait for things to happen.

In 10 years USA Gypsum has grown from 2 employees to 8 with 2 dedicated subcontractors. The amount of drywall that is recycled at the plant jumped from 300 tons per year to more than 20,000 tons, saving much needed space in already overloaded landfills. Weaver has also worked hard to keep the plant and operations green and on par with other recycling operations.

Pennsylvania DEP Secretary John Hanger (center) greets visitors on a tour of the USA Gypsum plant located in Reinholds. The company recycles drywall which is then used in areas of agriculture such as animal bedding and fertilizer.

USA Gypsum is the recipient of the first General Permit in the Commonwealth. The permit allows the company to continue to operate as a drywall recycler and to use the recycled material for agricultural purposes, creating a cooperative effort between agriculture and the environment.

“The permit is the first to be given in Pennsylvania and we are very grateful to the Department of Agriculture (PDA) and the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) for allowing us this distinction,” said Weaver. “Through our program we have been able to recycle about 120,000 tons of drywall over the past five years. Not only has this significant amount of waste been removed from the landfill waste stream but it has also been repackaged for beneficial use by agriculture.”

The recycled drywall is sold as a soil amendment and as a fertilizer. It is also useful as animal bedding.

Dairy cows use an estimated 500,000 tons of bedding in Pennsylvania per year.

“We’re getting a large response to recycling drywall. Because it can be used in so many other ways, we are also looking at expanding the plant in the near future,” said Weaver. “The additions to our plant will also have the same green building certifications as our original building.