Plaster and drywall are two common agents used in finished home interiors. These materials are easy to take down but are harder to recycle if you don’t know the best ways to properly dispose of old drywall and plaster. As you learn the best approach to safely disposing of the material, ensure you have the right tools before removing anything.
The Differences Between Drywall and Plaster
There are critical differences between drywall and plaster. For one thing, people make mortar using natural materials, and drywall utilizes compound mud, which is toxic. However, drywall’s only harmful if it breaks apart and releases dust, like plaster. Read on to learn about other differences between the two materials.
Plaster Is Expensive
Plaster costs more to make and install. The installation process takes a long time, and you’ll need to wait for it to dry before doing anything else. Meanwhile, drywall takes less time and isn’t difficult nor pricey to concoct.
Plaster Is Older Than Drywall
The biggest difference is age; drywall is a modern alternative to plaster. Homebuilders have used plaster since ancient times. Eons ago, they didn’t have many technologies to develop modern building materials for homes, so builders got creative.
Initially, creators used straw, clay, and mud. Once they finished the mixture, the engineers formed it into bricks and laid them out to form walls, allowing the sun to dry them. The mortar and stucco used today use a similar concoction. Today, the most commonly used plaster is cob and daub—and no, they don’t rhyme on purpose.
Drywall Isn’t Soundproof
Even though drywall’s a better alternative in some cases, it’s not the best when you need soundproof rooms. Despite the lack of soundproofing, it does provide better insulation. Plaster, meanwhile, doesn’t make up for the lack of insulation. Construction teams can pair drywall with another material to increase the thermal temperature or provide soundproofing.
Plaster Often Looks Better than Drywall
In all fairness, plaster boasts a superior aesthetic since it has a natural glossy appearance and doesn’t crack as easily. The application is flexible and adds many ways for homeowners to get creative with every room’s appearance.
Is Drywall Toxic?
Drywall is only toxic when a cloud of dust appears after knocking the material out of the wall. Make sure to have a mask on to avoid breathing in the dust, as it can bother your eyes, nose, and throat.
This dust that clouds your eyes and hurts you is compound dust—the dust comes from the compound mud used in the mixture. When sanding or performing other techniques, make sure not to put too much pressure on the wall to avoid any dust cloud emissions.
What About Plaster? Is That Material Dangerous?
It’s not toxic when it’s on the wall or when pieces break off. However, if one were to break plaster down without wearing protective gear, that’s when it becomes noxious. Since plaster is not harmful in its normal solid state, it won’t release nuisance dust.
Nuisance dust is another way to say toxic dirt. If you disturb or damage plaster walls, you may release a cloud of dust that can get into your air passageways, leading to long-term health problems like lung disease. Lung disease is more common in heavy work areas with prolonged exposure, including plaster and drywall installations.
How To Reuse and Recycle Drywall
It’s important to reuse and recycle drywall, but you’ll need to get creative in the process. Here are ideas to salvage and recondition your drywall waste.
Save for Repairs
Simple repairs like patchwork and filling in holes could easily incorporate leftover drywall. Since the wallboard breaks easily, it’s best to leave it until you’re ready to use it. Additionally, keep the material in a dry place to avoid mold growth.
Share the Material With Others
Sharing is one way to care for the environment. Plenty of contractors are happy to take what they need off your hands to cut down on the cost of buying new materials for drywall. If your pile keeps growing, it’s time to condense and give some away.
Fertilize the Lawn and Garden
Drywall contains 90 percent gypsum, a material similar to limestone. The substance helps lower the soil’s pH levels to renew the ground and increase its workability. You can quickly grind the material into a powder and sprinkle it around the yard.
How To Reuse and Recycle Plaster
Like drywall, you can sustainably reuse or recycle plaster. Here’s how to use mortar again.
Like Drywall, Use It for Patchwork
Plaster can break down and fill in for patchwork. Small things like cracks and holes need something that dries fast, so plaster is the best choice, even when you’re looking to save more.
Reuse the Content As False Floors
When you’re looking to raise the ground slightly, or you so happen to pull up floorboards, using plaster as a filling can create soundproof ceilings and floors.
Many people use the false floors as an aesthetic point. However, even while it adds style, the false floors create better insulation for the top levels of a home. You need only adjust the structure and fill the cavities with layers of old plaster and fine sand. When installed properly, there’s less chance that you’ll notice the vibrations when a person walks across the floor.
Give It a DIY Spin
There are many DIY projects you can do with plaster. If you don’t have a creative bone in your body, donate it to a small business or art center to use in their classes. If you do want to try your hand at designing plaster projects, try these out:
- Create candle holders and place them on a coffee table
- Make fun tiles to put in the bathroom or kitchen
- Make stepping stones for the garden
- Create holiday decorations
Pay Someone To Remove the Materials for You
In addition to everything you could do with used drywall and plaster, one of the best ways to recycle the materials is using a roll off dumpster in Lawrenceville, GA. A dumpster packs away everything neatly without creating huge messes.
Work with your team to go through all the used drywall and plaster you want to dispose of and throw it in a waste bin that goes directly to a recycling plant for proper sorting.
A dumpster helps sort your messes, and we’re happy to help organize your big post-renovation cleanup. Talk with Vine Disposal about tossing your drywall and plaster in the most eco-friendly way. Our services extend all over the Atlanta metropolitan area and surrounding neighborhoods. Reach out to us with questions—we’re happy to help, and we can’t wait to work with you!