Can drywall be recycled?

Drywall recycling is a relatively new process, but it has been successful in many places. Drywall can be recycled into new building material for reuse in homes and businesses, saving thousands of tons from landfills each year. In addition, recycled drywall saves the energy used to create new drywall while keeping scrap out of landfills.

How can I recycle drywall?

Drywall is typically recycled by large recycling companies with the equipment to crush or render materials down to their parts to be reused. This includes the gypsum board and other metal components such as screws and nails coated with a plastic resin.

One place you might check for a local source of drywall recycling is your community recycling department, which may have contacts with recyclers. Unfortunately, drywall recycling is not yet widespread, and some brands of drywall cannot be recycled.

Check to see if your local recycling center has information on whether or not it can accept your drywall, and for more details, check in with a recycling specialist at the closest Materials Recovery Facility (MRF).

What types of drywall can be recycled?

Most gypsum wallboard that was installed within the last ten years can usually be successfully recycled. Some older boards may also go through the process, but it will depend on the manufacturer’s specifications and what the facility accepts as recyclable material. The only type we do not recommend recycling is plaster/lathe-and-plaster.

If you are unsure about what type of board was used in your home, ask a contractor who has been involved with the renovation or construction of your house, as he may know which variations were used.

How much drywall can be recycled?

The amount of drywall you have will depend on how big your house or building is and how often renovations or new construction occur. The average American residence only has around 10-15 pounds of drywall per square foot over its life span but might produce up to 30 pounds per square foot during a renovation. To reuse most materials they receive at their recycling plant, facilities must accept clean and uncontaminated material.

Drywall recycling is a great way to lessen the environmental impact of building materials and save money by reusing what would have been a waste product. However, it may only be possible in large-scale recycling facilities that accept a wide variety of recyclables, so contact your local center for more information on recycling drywall.


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