Saint-Gobain, through its building products subsidiary CertainTeed, has installed recycling technology at its gypsum wallboard plant in Silver Grove, Ky., that will allow the plant to recycle and reuse 15,000 tons of paper per year that otherwise would have been sent to a landfill. The project is part of the company’s new global Grow and Impact strategy, which includes reducing waste and increasing the circularity of raw materials at its manufacturing sites. CertainTeed’s facility in Silver Grove is the largest gypsum wallboard plant in North America and one of the largest in the world. The plant, which sits on 200 acres of land, started up operations in 2000 and today is home to 270 employees.
Gypsum wallboard is made from a gypsum slurry that is poured and dries between two sheets of paper. Some scrap material, consisting of gypsum and paper, is 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. CertainTeed is able to capture and recycle most of the gypsum in this scrap material at all of its gypsum plants, including Silver Grove. But the scrap paper created in this process could not be recycled through traditional means, because the paper was coated in gypsum.
The new recycling technology in Silver Grove works by grinding the waste gypsum and waste paper down into finer particles, allowing the plant to capture and internally recycle both the gypsum particles and the paper particles, which are sorted and then reintroduced to the production process at the plant.