I am particularly proud of our associate-driven projects, including engaging with farmers operating near our plants. Farmers often purchase gypsum as a soil stabilizer. Our plants cannot use all the gypsum our reclaim projects produce. Associates have made arrangements for farmers to use the reclaimed gypsum on their fields.
For more than a decade, National Gypsum has used sustainable materials and practices in its processes, including the production of gypsum wallboard. Nearly half of our primary raw material is byproduct gypsum, produced when power plants scrub carbon dioxide emissions. Byproduct gypsum, or calcium sulfate, is identical to gypsum rock but with higher purity. We also produce the paper for our board production from 100 percent recycled stock. Our Customer Service and Logistic teams work to minimize the miles our wallboard travels from our plants to our customers.
We continue to upgrade and modernize our plants, which not only improves our productivity and quality but also enhances energy savings resulting from board dryer upgrades, including fuel-efficient burners and improved heat retention.
We continue to build on a 2015 initiative to use new technology to recover and reuse unsaleable wallboard. These are products not meeting specifications, experimental projects and board trimmings. Plants are using a variety of equipment to remove paper from the gypsum core. The remaining gypsum is ground to a uniform size and metered into the board-making process. The projects allowed the company to reuse tons of reclaimed gypsum last year.
I am particularly proud of our associate-driven projects, including engaging with farmers operating near our plants. Farmers often purchase gypsum as a soil stabilizer. Our plants cannot use all the gypsum the reclaim projects produce. Associates have made arrangements for farmers to use the reclaimed gypsum on their fields. They work with the agricultural community to ensure our reclaim has the proper moisture content to flow through the farmers’ spreaders.
In another organic project, two associates at our Halifax, Nova Scotia, quarry devised a plan to get 25 acres cleared by a biomass plant 150 miles away. The biomass plant cleared the land and produced wood chips for power generation. We avoided substantial clearing costs while providing fuel to produce electricity in the province.
National Gypsum remains committed to using sustainable processes to produce an essential building material.