Recycling technology to reduce waste in wallboard production

Saint-Gobain, through its building products subsidiary CertainTeed LLC, has installed recycling technology at its gypsum wallboard plant in Nashville, Arkansas, which will allow the plant to recycle and reuse 65,000 tons of materials per year that otherwise would have been sent to a landfill.

The project represents a US$1.3 million investment from CertainTeed and comes as Saint-Gobain continues to roll out its new global grow and impact strategy, which includes reducing waste and increasing the circularity of raw materials at its manufacturing sites.

Gypsum wallboard is made from a gypsum slurry that is poured and dries between two sheets of paper. Some scrap materials, consisting of gypsum and paper, are normally created every time a production line is started up or shut down, or when production equipment is changed to manufacture different sizes of wallboard.

Grind and separate

The new recycling technology in Nashville works by grinding the waste gypsum and waste paper down into fine particles, allowing the plant to capture and internally recycle the materials, which are sorted and then reintroduced to the production process at the plant.

Today, each wallboard produced at CertainTeed’s Nashville facility includes some recycled content made available by this new process, and the company plans to increase the amount of recycled materials in its gypsum wallboard in the coming years.

“In Nashville and at our manufacturing sites around the world, we remain laser-focused on reducing waste, reducing our consumption of natural resources, and increasing recycling and circularity throughout our value chain,” said Jay Bachmann, vice-president and general manager of CertainTeed Gypsum.

“We will continue to look for ways to minimize our environmental footprint while maximizing our company’s positive impact for our customers and the communities where we do business.”

CertainTeed’s Nashville plant, and its nearby mine, sit on 3,500 acres of land in southwest Arkansas. Today the plant and the mine employ nearly 200 people.

Commitment to sustainability

The recycling technology installed in Nashville follows several other recent actions taken by the company to solidify its commitment towards sustainability.

In April, Saint-Gobain announced its electrochromic glass subsidiary SageGlass had launched a recycling partnership that will save 1,000 tons of glass pear year from landfill for the next five years.

In March, Saint-Gobain North America announced it would install heat recovery technology at its CertainTeed gypsum manufacturing site in Vancouver, British Columbia, which will reduce the plant’s carbon dioxide emissions by 10% and improve its energy efficiency.

Also in March, Saint-Gobain announced the 2021 results of its virtual Power Purchase Agreement with the Blooming Grove Wind Farm, and additional renewables contracting, had reduced the company’s CO2 emissions from electricity usage in the United States and Canada by approximately 33%.

In February, the company invested $32 Million to upgrade equipment at its insulation plant in Chowchilla, California, reducing the facility’s carbon footprint by more than 4,000 tonnes per year.

In January, Saint-Gobain North America donated a zero energy ready house in Canton, Ohio, made with more than 20 of its own products, to Habitat for Humanity.

CertainTeed, headquartered in Malvern, Pennsylvania, was founded in 1904 as General Roofing Manufacturing Company. The firm’s slogan “Quality Made Certain, Satisfaction Guaranteed,” inspired the name CertainTeed. Today, CertainTeed is a North American brand of exterior and interior building products, including roofing, siding, solar, fence, railing, trim, insulation, drywall and ceilings.

Saint-Gobain designs, manufactures and distributes materials and services for the construction and industrial markets.