Why do we Recycle?
Asphalt shingles make up roughly two thirds of the U.S. residential roofing market. Each year, the U.S. manufactures and disposes of an estimated 11 million tons of asphalt shingles. Of this waste, ten million tons is from installation scraps and tear-offs from re-roofing and one million tons from asphalt shingle manufacturers. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that shingle waste makes up 8% of the total building-related waste stream and 1-10% of annual construction and demolition debris (C&D). As a substantial portion of the C&D waste stream and because they are usually separated from other debris, asphalt shingles have the potential to be recycled.
Disposing of asphalt shingles in landfills is much less efficient than recycling. A growing number of landfill facilities established to handle large waste streams exacerbate other environmental issues such as methane gas emissions which contribute to global climate change. Since asphalt is made from refined petroleum,incinerating old or unwanted shingles also creates harmful emissions.
Using recycled asphalt shingles (RAS) in new products is important to reduce the negative environmental impacts associated with the extraction, transportation, and processing of virgin materials. It also conserves valuable landfill space. In addition, the use of these recycled materials reduces the amount of virgin resources used in production and reduces costs for manufacturers and consumers.
Recycled Asphalt Shingle Uses – The first step to recycling asphalt shingles is the removal of non-shingle waste. The shingles are then ground to ¼” – 2 ½”, depending on the intended future use. The following are potential end uses for recycled asphalt roofing shingles:
- Hot-mix Asphalt (HMA) additive
- Cold patch for pothole repair
- Temporary roads, driveways and parking lots
- New shingles additive,
- Aggregate road base, and
- Dust and erosion control at construction sites and rural roads, and
Another source reduction strategy that we use is donating excess shingles for reuse to Habitat for Humanity® or other charitable organizations. Reusable shingles may also be posted on a Materials Exchange website. Materials Exchanges provide residents and businesses with the opportunity to list and search through unwanted, reusable items.
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