When replacing an asphalt shingle roof on a home or building, something must be done with the old shingles. The excess roofing nails and tar paper is a small portion of the leftover tear-off. Hauling these petroleum-based shingles to a local landfill is a poor ecological choice.
Asphalt shingle recycling is growing in popularity. What was once an environmental problem is now an ecological advantage. Old asphalt shingles are melted into a liquid roof patch or recycled into surface asphalt for roads and parking lots. Here are some frequently asked questions, followed by some facts and figures about asphalt shingle recycling.
Frequently Asked Questions
You may have your own questions about asphalt shingle recycling. However, there are a number of common questions to which everyone would like to know the answer. Here are five of the most frequently asked questions about asphalt shingle recycling.
Can Asphalt Shingles Really Be Recycled?
Yes – Asphalt shingles are being successfully recycled all across the United States. There is actually an organization dedicated to helping with public awareness. AsphaltRoofing.org operates a website with information about what can be done with old asphalt shingles from roof tear-offs.
One of the easiest ways to return asphalt shingles back into industry-usable products is by a simple meltdown. The component base of asphalt shingles makes it an excellent additive to the same asphalt you see in parking lots and roadways.
Doesn’t It Cost Too Much to Be Feasible?
No – The alternative is to haul your old asphalt shingles to a landfill. They are manufactured using the same core principle as regular asphalt. This means these types of shingles have a high petroleum content.
Oil-based products of this type are toxic when thrown haphazardly into a landfill. Any potential cost of an environmental problem would be many times greater than the necessary expense involved in asphalt shingle recycling.
When you include the energy cost of manufacturing asphalt, the cost-benefit rate of asphalt shingle recycling becomes obvious.
How Does Asphalt Shingle Recycling Work?
It’s Simple – The process is relatively elementary. All the waste from an asphalt shingle roof tear-off can be funneled into different recycling projects. The wood is separated and used as an energy source at the point of recycle.
The shingles are then ground down into a granular state. The nails can be shifted to a metal recycling operation, easily removed using a magnet from the ground asphalt.
The remaining asphalt is run across screens to shift it into similar sizes and dumped into containers. It will then be returned to a viscous state, and a percentage will be added to paving asphalt.
What Is Recycled Asphalt Shingles Used for?
Paving Asphalt – The main item that is produced by recycling asphalt shingles is roadway asphalt. Most of the new product generated is now incorporated in bike paths and asphalt trails. This helps reduce the cost of many of these public service projects.
The reclaimed asphalt is also being tested as a hardener for various types of tar roll-on roof coatings. This is proving to be a very successful and economical use of recycled asphalt shingles. Much of the product that cannot be added to new asphalt paving is used on construction sites as dust control.
Is It Hard to Find an Asphalt Shingle Recycling Facility?
No – Frequently asphalt shingle recycling facilities will be listed with your local recycling projects. If not, you can find locations by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
They keep updated lists of facilities that accept asphalt shingles and can answer any other questions you have about the useful process. You can also call 1-800-CLEANUP, which handles a number of construction waste questions. They will direct you to the right place to recycle your asphalt shingles.
Facts & Figures about Asphalt Shingle Recycling
Here are some eye-opening asphalt shingle facts and figures, which overwhelmingly support the need for more asphalt shingle recycling. These facts relate to abuse of landfill capacity, in addition to the amount of energy expended to manufacture new asphalt.
- Tons of Permanent Waste – An average tear-off roof composed of asphalt shingles generates between 2 and 3 tons of shingle waste. An estimated eleven million tons of asphalt shingles end up wasted in landfills, where they take over 300 years to degrade.
- Expensive to Dump in Overloaded Landfills – Some states charge between $30 and $50 per ton to dump old asphalt shingles. Some states now report they have less than two decades of landfill space left at the current rate of fill.
- Recycling Process Is Simple – Many people mistakenly think that asphalt shingle recycling is an involved and time-consuming process. It is not.
The process is almost exactly like recycling different colored glass, or different grades of plastic. The wood is used as an energy source, roofing nails smelted into metal items and the remaining asphalt used for paving projects.
- Saving Our Valuable Natural Resources – By recycling one ton of asphalt shingles, you will have saved your world two barrels of oil. This is not only important in light of the cost of petroleum in today’s world, but also meets with positive action for preserving our natural resources.
All asphalt roofs have a lifespan. They are not made to last a lifetime. Invariably they are going to need to be replaced with a new roof. The problem begins when the proper contacts are not made to get these usable shingles into the recycling process. Asphalt shingle recycling regulations are being proposed in almost every state, for this exact reason.
Hopefully, these answers to some frequently asked questions, followed by the facts and figures concerning asphalt shingle recycling will tell you this is the right choice. If you’re doing a tear-off and reroof of with asphalt shingles, make a commitment to recycle your old material. The recycling industry will benefit, our natural resources will be preserved, and the earth will thank you.