Filling a need

Green Innovator of the Year

L&W Supply Corp.

Phil Sternig of L&W Supply Corp. (Photo by Corey Hengen)

The Boldt Co.’s leaders knew they wanted to recycle construction material on the Encircle Health project in Appleton, but the company couldn’t find anyone to salvage the gypsum drywall.

So Boldt turned the tables on the drywall supplier, L&W Supply Corp., and asked the distributor to handle the gypsum recycling, even though the company had never done so before.

“L&W stepped up to the plate and started this recycling project for the construction site,” said Robin Rusch, senior buyer and project engineer for Boldt. “We were going after (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) gold for this building in Appleton and knew that recycling the drywall was an important part of that. So we were ecstatic to find someone to get the program started.”

Prior to L&W Supply’s recycling program, gypsum waste was tossed into Dumpsters and hauled off to the landfill. Rusch estimates the program redirected 50 tons of drywall.

“They’ve really gone the extra mile,” he said.

L&W Supply placed heavy-duty waste-collection baskets at the job site and retrieved the full baskets to recycle the gypsum for other uses. The program reduced gypsum waste disposal fees and helped earn LEED points, Rusch said.

And now other general contractors are getting in on the recycling.

Dennis Thiel, owner of Dennis Thiel Builders Inc., Brillion, and a self-described “recycling freak,” said he signed up right away when he heard about L&W Supply’s gypsum recycling option.

“When you can reuse something, why not recycle it?” he said. “It costs about the same, maybe even a little less than putting it all in a Dumpster and hauling it away to the landfill, so I view the program as a win-win.”

General contractors such as Jeff Cesarz of Cesarz Drywall Inc., Franklin, are even landing more business as a result of the program, he said.

“People really like having the green option, and the paperwork they have is great so you can track exactly how much was saved from the landfill,” Cesarz said. “People are a lot more eco-friendly these days, so if you’re able to give them those offerings, it’s good for you.”

The program also cuts down on the number of Dumpsters since the drywall is collected regularly and removed from the site, he said.

“The program really lends itself to a cleaner work site,” Cesarz said, “which a lot of people like.”

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