What is Gypsum Recycling?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 17 November 2019
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Gypsum recycling is the process of collecting worn and abandoned sections of gypsum wallboard and drywall that is removed during building renovations or the fragments that are thrown away away after some new type of construction is completed. The idea behind the recycling effort is to prevent these waste materials from being dumped into landfills and reprocess the used gypsum in the creation of new materials for use in various construction projects. Recycling of this sort is growing in many nations around the world, notably the United States, Japan, and several nations in Europe where the gypsum wallboard is routinely used in the construction and renovation of homes and some commercial buildings.

Gypsum itself is a type of plasterboard or wallboard that is coated on each side with a thin layer of paper linen. While very durable, the board can be trimmed to any desired specifications as part of a building project. Typically, there are small sections trimmed away that are discarded as unusable. Gypsum recycling calls for collecting those sections and reprocessing them, often to make new wallboard that complies with material codes and can be used in new building projects.


When older buildings are renovated or torn down, the fragments of the wallboard are collected and graded for gypsum recycling. Depending on the degree of contamination and deterioration of the wallboard, various processes may be used to extract any useful materials from the debris. With fragments that are severely deteriorated, it may be possible to pound the material into a powder that can be used as filler or an additive in other products. Once cleared for processing, the fragment are used to create recycle building materials that are considered just as strong as gypsum products made from new materials, but are available at a fraction of the cost of those new materials.

The process of gypsum recycling serves two very important purposes. By retrieving the materials for recycling, it is possible to prevent literally tons of used building materials from being dumped into landfills each year. This in turn means less impact on the environment. At the same time, gypsum recycling makes it possible to utilize materials that would otherwise be useless to create new building materials that make it possible to renovate an older building or construct a new one for a fraction of the cost. In addition to reducing costs, using the recycled gypsum products also means less new resources are used in creating building materials, a fact that is beneficial for the environment on the front end.


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