Go Green

Shingle Recycling

An often overlooked advantage of choosing asphalt shingles are how they are a great choice for recycling when they have reached the end of their life. Homeowners can do their part in choosing a sustainable material for their roof.

What is asphalt shingle recycling?

It is becoming increasingly common for shingles to be recycled versus being sent to a landfill. Shingle recycling is the process of taking asphalt shingles from roof tear-offs and collecting them for reuse into another products, ensuring the material does not end up in a landfill.

What are the benefits of asphalt shingle recycling?

Shingle recycling is economically viable, convenient where available, and saves valuable resources from being sent to a landfill. Recycled asphalt shingles are most commonly used in pavement, which offsets the need for new asphalt and aggregate, and additional uses are being explored. Asphalt shingle recycling can create jobs for recycling locations and reduce costs for paving. Recycling shingles also allows homeowners to make a positive environmental contribution.

In what products are recycled asphalt shingles used?

The #1 use of recycled shingles is to make roads! Ground-up shingles are typically added to the pavement and in many cases may actually improve the quality. Other uses include using the material as an input to make roofing products or road maintenance products, or to produce energy.

The Greening of our Roadways

The fact that shingles are recyclable should give homeowners and building owners great satisfaction, especially since the predominant re-use application is for paving projects. This can include public roads, private driveways and commercial parking lots. Considering there are 3.9 million miles of public roads in the U.S.1, and millions of driveways and parking lots, there is huge opportunity for utilizing recycled shingles in a tangible (and drive-able) way. According to the National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA), 1.96 million tons of reclaimed asphalt shingles (RAS) were used in new asphalt pavement mixes in the U.S. in 2014. Reusing the asphalt cement in reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP) and RAS saved about $2.8 billion in 2013 compared to the use of virgin materials.2 Because asphalt is a product of oil refining, recycled material can be utilized in lieu of new refined oil. Therefore, it helps to reduce our dependence on oil and positively contributes to the environment and the economy.

The shingle recycling trend is catching on. The 2014 NAPA Asphalt Pavement Industry Survey on Recycled Material and Warm-Mix Asphalt Usage indicates that the use of both manufacturing waste and post-consumer shingles in asphalt mixtures increased to an all-time high of nearly 2 million tons in 2014, almost a 25 percent increase from 2013 (1.6 million tons). Assuming a conservative asphalt content of 20 percent for the RAS that is used to replace virgin asphalt, this represents 400,000 tons (2.2 million barrels) of virgin asphalt preserved.

This information and more are found at www.asphaltroofing.org