Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

Top 10 Things to Recycle at Your Construction Site


9
Drywall
Scraps of drywall can be used for wall patches, and also mixed with soil as a nutrient-rich food source for plants.
Scraps of drywall can be used for wall patches, and also mixed with soil as a nutrient-rich food source for plants.
©iStockphoto.com/Mel Stoutsenberger

What would a building be without drywall? For one thing, it would be pretty chilly inside during the winter because there wouldn't be any interior walls. Drywall is made of gypsum sandwiched between two sheets of paper. It is the prime material used in interior construction and home renovation work. The United States produces about 15 million tons of new drywall annually [source: CA.gov]. Concurrently, about 25 percent of all construction waste is made up of drywall [source: Ohio State University].

Fortunately, drywall is easy to recycle and reuse. Builders can use scraps of it to plug openings in walls, and workers can also use bits of it to fashion forms to support wet concrete. Drywall can also be turned into agricultural products. Specifically, drywall contains boron. Although boron is known as a fire retardant, it's also a plant nutrient. Landscapers can mix the element with soil to provide plants with a source of nutrient-rich food [source: CA.gov]. In addition, the paper that surrounds the gypsum can also be added to soil, recycled into paperboard or new wallboard, or composted for fertilizer [source: CA.gov].


More to Explore