|Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Sec. John Hanger (center) shakes hands and greets visitors on a tour of the USA Gypsum plant located in Reinhold, Pa.|
USA Gypsum, Reinholds, Pa., says in only 10 years it has grown from two employees to eight (along with two dedicated subcontractors) and is now recycling more than 20,000 tons per year of drywall after starting out at 300 tons per year.
Terry Weaver, owner of the facility, says the company has worked hard to keep the plant and operations “green” and on par with other recycling operations.
USA Gypsum also says it is the recipient of the first “General Permit in the Commonwealth [of Pennsylvania.]” The permit allows the company to continue to operate as a drywall recycler and to use the recycled material for agricultural purposes.
“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,” says 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, according to a USA Gypsum news release.
“We’re getting a large response to recycling drywall,” says Weaver. “Because it can be used in so many other ways, we are also looking at expanding the plant in the near future. The additions to our plant will also have the same green building certifications as our original building.”
The USA Gypsum recycling center can be a resource for building owners seeking Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) points, says Weaver. LEED certification is a green building certification program that provides verification that a building was designed and built using strategies that ultimately will improve performance in the following categories: energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality and stewardship of resources and knowledge of their impacts.
Weaver will be offering a presentation at the C&D Recycling Forum, taking place in Baltimore Oct. 3-5, 2010.
More information about USA Gypsum can be found at www.usagypsum.com.