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New Equipment Allows Silver Grove Plant to Recycle 15,000 Tons of Paper

The gypsum wallboard plant in Silver Grove operated by Saint-Gobain subsidiary CertainTeed has new recycling technology, the company announced this week.

It 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 company said. 

The project follows a previous announcement months ago that Saint-Gobain's new global Grow and Impact strategy would target a reduction of waste and an increase in 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 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, the company explained.

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.

“This project allows us to reduce our waste and reduce our production costs in Silver Grove, while also empowering us to increase the efficiency of our use of natural resources,” 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.”

More than 15 CertainTeed professionals in the company’s engineering, operations, and sustainability teams worked for a year and a half to bring this project to fruition, and CertainTeed invested $850,000 in the new recycling equipment, the company said. The company is now exploring opportunities to introduce similar recycling technology at some of its other gypsum wallboard plants in North America.

-Staff report

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