Looking upward towards a ceiling with lights and white foam ceiling panels

Cleaning up the debris and aftermath of a renovation project may feel overwhelming, especially if you are stuck with hordes of old ceiling panels. In such a case, it is crucial to ensure that they’re disposed of appropriately, or you may risk yourself getting penalized by your community. 

Are ceiling panels recyclable?” is one question asked frequently by homeowners, and we can understand why. 

To help you in this endeavor, we have outlined a few simple steps to dispose of and correctly recycle old ceiling panels. Moreover, we’ve also shared a few companies that can help you in the recycling process in Florida and other states.

So, without further ado, let’s get started. But first, a quick answer to the burning question on everyone’s mind.

Are Ceiling Panels Recyclable? (In Florida & Other States)

Yes, ceiling panels can be recycled. Recycling programs have been offered in Florida and other states for more than a decade. Generally, manufacturers that extend these programs would take back ceiling panels from homeowners—as long as they do not contain harmful materials like lead or asbestos.

Recycling these panels from your home renovation project isn’t a complicated task. Moreover, it saves them from being dumped into landfills and negatively impacting our environment.

A homeowner replaces old celing panels with recycled new ones

Panel Recycling Process Overview

The process of recycling ceiling panels is pretty straightforward but demands some physical labor to move the panels along with a bit of legwork to find out the best disposal option. 

Here are some options you can use: 

  • Contact your town’s public works department and inquire about the ceiling panel disposal or recycling policy in your area. Ask if there is a limit to how many panels you can recycle or dispose of or whether the town regulates ceiling material.
  • Find an affiliate recycler nearby using a local resource directory or dispose of them through available recycling programs. If you aim to limit landfill waste, this is a preferred route instead of disposing of panels in the trash. The recycled ceiling panels get reused for new ones.
  • Recycle or dispose of the ceiling panels using your area’s preferred method. For example, Ramsey County, Missouri, allows residents to bag old panels in trash bags and leave them at the curb for collection on trash day. 

    Some areas might even place sanctions on ceiling panel disposal or require you to drive it to a landfill.
Trash bags near the curb on collection day
  • If there’s asbestos involved, consult with a professional asbestos cleaner to remove the panel. Please don’t dispose of it in your usual trash since inappropriate disposal of asbestos can leak toxic chemicals into the air or ground.

Tip: According to the Environmental Protection Agency, there’s no foolproof way to tell if ceiling panels contain asbestos. The substance was common in ceiling panels installed before the 1970s. 

If you aren’t sure whether your ceiling panels contain asbestos, it is best to call a professional asbestos cleaner and arrange to have the material sampled.

Ceiling Panels Recycling Programs By State

Several manufacturers use recycled content in their products. For example, Hunter Douglas sells metal ceiling panels with 70-95% recycled content.

Similarly, ceiling-to-ceiling panels by Armstrong entail 15-18% post-consumer content. Armstrong’s panels differ in the overall percentage of recycled content; however, its greenest product is at 79%. 

StateCeiling Panel RecyclingCompanies Offering Recycled Ceiling Products/Service
Florida YesUnited States Gypsum Company, BPB America, Inc., The Celotex Corporation
Washington YesDepartment of Public Works, Armstrong Ceiling Recycling Program 
TexasYesDallas Waste Disposal, Bracken Recycling
Oregan YesUnited States Gypsum Company, Knez Building Materials, Co.
Pennsylvania YesArmstrong World Industries
New Jersey YesBayshore Recycling

Recycling Your Panels

All in all, the two major players in the world of ceiling panel recycling in most states are:

Armstrong World Industries Building Products Divisionthis company recycles old fiberglass panels and mineral fiber ceiling panels. 

To learn more, contact (877) 276-7876, ext. 6278.

USG Sustainable Ceilings – popular throughout the country for recycling fiber-mineral suspended ceiling panels. However, the panels should be shrink-wrapped and piled on pallets. The company also offers free pickup service from your site and recycles waste at the USG plant if renovation project qualifies. 

To learn more, contact (503) 516-9188.

Why It’s Important to Recycle Ceiling Materials

Not so long ago, ceiling panels were made from raw materials like plaster and asbestos.

And it is fair to say that it did a reasonably decent job, e.g., controlling the kinesis of sound waves in a building from one spot to another. However, there’s no denying that it was also somewhat hazardous for anybody who lived or worked in that vicinity. 

Luckily, modern panels do not use those materials. Now, they’re made from materials like mineral fiber, fiberglass, or metal.

Nevertheless, once older panels deteriorate over time and are no longer used (even those not built using unsafe materials), they’re dumped into overcrowded landfills, adding more waste to our surrounding environment.

A bulldozer pushes a sea of waste including ceiling panel material in a landfill.

It is why the recycling of ceiling panels is so crucial. Recycling old panels can provide you with cost-effective building materials and removes a lot of junk from landfills.

Benefits to the Planet

  • Reduces pressure on overloaded landfills and detrimental environmental impact
  • Brings waste back to life for reuse purposes
  • Preserves natural resources

Benefits to You

  • A healthier, happier, and safe environment for you and younger generations
  • Minimizes space limitations on the worksite
  • Saves money and time by avoiding landfill fees and reducing trips to the dumpster
  • Shows your commitment to the environment

Are New Ceiling Panels Better Than Recycled Panels?

Some homeowners worry about using recycled materials to build their homes, wondering if the fixture will last long enough. However, just because something has been used before does not mean it’s not capable of providing high quality.

Homeowners seeking to build or remodel can expect the same quality and noise reduction level as any other new ceiling panel.

Conclusion

Recycling old ceiling panels from a renovation project is not hard. Plus, it prevents them from negatively impacting our environment by saving them from being dumped into overloaded landfills! 

There are several panel recycling programs out there that can facilitate your preserving natural resources by collecting approved panels from manufacturers and reprocessing them into new building materials.

With the ultimate aim of preventing worksite recyclable materials from being cast off into landfills, these programs are an excellent way to advance your strong commitment to safeguarding the environment.

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