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Job-Site Recycling: Grinding Drywall and Wood

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P: So, you’ve got things like wood fiber—that takes a certain type of machine. And you’ve got things like bricks. It’s not easy to design a machine that can process things from cardboard up to concrete blocks. K: Absolutely. It isn’t easy at all. You need something with really high torque. P: So, we’re on the job site. We’ve rounded all this stuff up, including wood waste, engineered wood as well, solid sawn, and we’ve got gypsum board. So, what do we do with those materials? K: The wood waste, first of all, can be used as erosion control. That’s a big savings for the builder. P: Drywall is just about 93 percent calcium sulfate or gypsum, and 7 percent paper, so it’s a pretty good material to use as a soil amendment. K: Oh, absolutely. It’s a very good material. And then when you finish with the wood chips and everything else, you incorporate all that back into the [unintelligible] and you have all the other cellulose that goes into it. P: And how much of the waste stream by percent can we handle with onsite grinding? K: You can actually recycle about 98 percent by volume. P: That’s excellent. Taking materials that some people think of as garbage and using them as a beneficial use on the site, is that an easy thing to do [unintelligible]? K: That’s not an easy thing to do at all, Peter. That has been a large hurdle. What we’ve tried to do in this state is do a lot of studies with the university and a few other people—US EPA—to show that you can…

One Comment

  1. Charlie Sullivan | | #1

    A pdf on Patterson's web site
    A pdf on Patterson's web site describes segregating clean scaps of new, untreated drywall (no fungicide treated scraps), and grinding it up to make a soil amendment. That sounds like a good idea to me. But the video shows mixed scrap piles that look like they include materials torn out of old construction during renovation or demolition, as well as pallets. Without strict controls, that could include lead paint, asbestos drywall compound, and pressure treated wood. How does Patterson make sure that doesn't happen?

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