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CertainTeed gypsum wallboard plant in Silver Grove receives Better Project Award for recycling program

Staff report

Saint-Gobain North America, through its building products subsidiary CertainTeed LLC, has received the 2022 Better Project Award from the U.S. Department of Energy for the company’s recycling program at its gypsum wallboard plant in Silver Grove.

The company installed recycling technology at the plant which allowed it to recycle and reuse 15,000 tons of paper per year that otherwise would have been sent to a landfill.

The ambitious project was announced in December. The company’s new global Grow and Impact strategy included 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 is now 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.

“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 the project to fruition, and CertainTeed invested $850,000 in the new recycling equipment. The company is now exploring opportunities to introduce similar recycling technology at some of its other gypsum wallboard plants in North America.

The recycling project in Silver Grove follows several major investments in environmental sustainability made this year by CertainTeed.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Better Projects awards recognize manufacturers who improve energy efficiency and competitiveness in the industrial sector. To be considered for an award, projects must deliver significant waste or energy savings and must be discreet, innovative, and replicable in similar industrial facilities.

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