Celebrating Earth Day With An Innovative Take On Recycling

In honor of Earth Day, April 22, we are highlighting a project with a unique recycling solution.

Our team discovered a sustainable way to recycle the five tons of gypsum drywall produced by grinding it up and distributing it to peanut farmers for their crops.

At Gulf State Park Lodge in Alabama, five tons of gypsum drywall are produced weekly. Because there aren’t any gypsum drywall recycling facilities located near the site, Skanska relentlessly pursued a sustainable solution for recycling the estimated 120 tons of gypsum board waste collected since November 2017.

The team’s extensive research revealed that when ground up, gypsum board products are an agricultural soil amendment for peanut farming that have been used for more than 250 years. Conveniently, Alabama is also home to several peanut farms within the proximity of our project site. Last year, Alabama farmers harvested 189,000 acres of peanuts, producing 400 million pounds valued at $118 million according to the Alabama Farmers Federation.

Before we could start the recycling exchange, the Skanska – Volkert team petitioned the U.S. Department of Agriculture and received approval to provide the ground gypsum to local peanut farmers. After receiving the government approvals, the farmers happily agreed to accept the ground gypsum board waste to use as a soil conditioner.

To successfully execute this recycling effort, a newly purchased six-inch chipping machine grinds the gypsum board waste into a dumpster contained in a designated area onsite. Then, the dumpsters are transported to the peanut farms where the ground gypsum is spread throughout the fields and tilled into the soil.

As we celebrate Earth Day, we are committed to protecting our communities through sustainable practices, big and small. For more information and resources, visit the Earth Day 2018 website.