Recycling Asphalt Shingles – An Eco-Friendly Choice

Posted on: April 22nd, 2017 by Lori Smith
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In a congested world with more waste than our landfills can handle, recycling is a critical component for keeping a good balance with our environment. Finding ways to remove some of the harmful chemicals and greenhouse gases released from waste is a positive step in the right direction.

Landfills and Recycling

From Pixabay

One element in the construction industry that is a great option for recycling is asphalt shingles. Not only are they recyclable, but are many times themselves made of recycled materials.

The number one use of recycling asphalt shingles is for road construction. Ground-up shingles are added to the pavement and can improve the quality of the surface. The following post explains more about roofing options that are environmentally beneficial:

Eco-Friendly Roofing Options – Green Homes – MOTHER EARTH NEWS

Among the most popular — and perhaps the “greenest” — of all roofing products are shingles made from recycled waste materials, such as plastic, rubber, or wood fiber. Some products are made from clean post-consumer waste (waste from homes), others from post-industrial waste (factory waste). Recycled-content shingles are amazingly durable, and they look nice, too. You’d never know they were made from “waste” materials!

Read more here:  Eco-Friendly Roofing Options – Green Homes – MOTHER EARTH NEWS

As mentioned above, roads are the biggest recipient of recycled shingles. Surprisingly, asphalt shingles aren’t just made of asphalt. They are comprised of fiberglass, mineral fiber and cement fillers with asphalt being a fairly small percentage of the ingredients depending on the manufacturer.The shingles are ground or chopped up and then mixed in and used a filler.

The guy in the following video had his driveway done with recycled asphalt shingles:

The more we can reuse our current resources, the better it is for everyone. It is mandatory in a number of states to recycle, and some make it convenient by offering curbside recycling programs.

Why recycle? Around 230 million tons of trash is generated by people in the United States every year. Here are some interesting facts about recycling from Wikipedia.org:

  • 68% of all paper products are recycled in the United States
  • 35% of total waste is recycled in the United States
  • Approximately 100% increase in total recycling in the United States during the past decade

Companies such as the one in the following article have machines that  grind up asphalt shingles, and feel that it is a profitable way to help the environment:

Profitability of Asphalt Shingle Recycling | Rotochopper

Asphalt Road

From Pixabay

With a strong market demand for asphalt cement (AC) and a largely untapped supply of asphalt shingle waste, shingle recycling continues to grow as one of the most profitable recycling opportunities today.

Asphalt shingle waste represents a major profit center for:
Asphalt paving contractors
Asphalt mix supply companies
Transfer stations
Material recovery facilities (MRFs)
Landfills

Read more here:  Profitability of Asphalt Shingle Recycling | Rotochopper

On the opposite end of the spectrum, there are companies that are using recycled materials to make synthetic or plastic roofing products. There are also organic shingles, which are made with a base mat of organic materials like waste paper, cellulose, wood fiber or other materials. These tiles are then saturated with asphalt to make them waterproof, followed by a top coating of adhesive asphalt and ceramic granules embedded in them. These options are fairly cost effective with few downsides.

 

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