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How to Compost Sheetrock

Jason Isbell

After a building project, there is often material leftover that needs to be disposed of. It is a waste to toss it in the trash; coming up with creative ways to dispose of it will ease the strain on landfills while giving the homeowner something extra.

After finishing a building project, what should be done with all the scraps?

One way some people dispose of their Sheetrock is by composting it. This can be a good way to dispose of the materials. Before tossing your Sheetrock onto the pile, be sure to know what the benefits and detriments of this system are.

  1. Know the benefits and detriments of composting Sheetrock. Adding Sheetrock to the soil can add drainage. The paper on the Sheetrock is good worm food. There is minimal lime in Sheetrock gypsum, so don't add it for lime.

  2. Some Sheetrock has fiberglass added to it, which is not good for the soil. Paint and primer from torn out Sheetrock is also not good for the soil. Some composting centers accept Sheetrock into their compost piles.

  3. Break up the Sheetrock. If, after knowing the benefits and detriments, you are still ready to compost the Sheetrock, make sure you use clean Sheetrock with no paint on it. If the Sheetrock has paint on it, refer to step 6 and recycle it. Using your hands, a hammer, or some other preferred method, break it up into small pieces. The pieces should be less than 2-inches square.

  4. Turn it into the compost. Use a garden fork or shovel to turn the Sheetrock into the compost. Add extra nitrogen-producing greens, such as vegetable scraps, lawn trimmings or weeds.

  5. Keep the pile hot. An aerobic pile will help to breakdown the Sheetrock. An anaerobic pile will produce micro-organisms that can produce a foul smell like rotten eggs. This is why composting facilities take Sheetrock, and it is not recommended for the home compost pile. To keep your pile hot, make sure you turn it regularly, and keep a good ratio of green and brown matter.

  6. Add only a little at a time. You don't want too much Sheetrock; it should be less than 5 percent of the total pile. This is like adding rocks to your compost. While it will increase drainage in the soil, it also will slow the decay of the other material if too much is added.

  7. Recycle what you don't compost. If there is a lot of Sheetrock to dispose of, then composting may not take care of all of it. The remainder should be responsibly recycled at a facility that takes Sheetrock.

  8. Warning

    Be careful of old Sheetrock with fiberglass, or worse, asbestos in it.