Recycling Asphalt Shingles
Did you know you can recycle your asphalt shingles when you’re finished with them? This is a much better option than just tossing them in the garbage, where they’ll end up in a landfill. If you’re interested in repurposing your shingles, here is a helpful guide in which we’ll discuss the benefits of this alternative, the process, and the different ways you can use recycled asphalt shingles.
The Benefits of Recycling Asphalt Shingles
Approximately 11 million tons of used shingles end up in landfills each year. Recycling your shingles is a great way to lessen your carbon footprint and to help the environment. Instead of your shingles sitting in a massive landfill, your shingles will find a new purpose elsewhere. As an added bonus, recycling your asphalt shingles will almost always be cheaper than having them taken to a landfill. In fact, sometimes, you may find that a roofing company will recycle them for free! Not only are you doing your part to create a more sustainable world, but you’re also saving money.
Recycling your shingles is a simple and easy process. Make sure that before you decide on a roofing contractor, you ask them beforehand if they are able to recycle your shingles. Some contractors will not recycle them because they simply choose not to, or there isn’t a shingle recycling facility in the area.
If this is a do-it-yourself asphalt shingle removal, make sure you take the necessary precautions.
A few things to remember:
- Make sure you can handle the job. Sure, you may save some money if you do it yourself, but will the results be as good as you want them to be?
- Consider how long it will take and whether or not you have the time to finish with a busy schedule.
- Nail gun safety. Make sure that you know how to properly use the tools.
Make sure you are properly equipped and have the following equipment that will be necessary for the job, like eye protection, guardrails, helmet, ladder stabilizer, netting, roof anchors, roof brackets, rope, safety harness, scaffolding, and work gloves.
To prepare shingles for use in new products, the shingles must be ground to a specified size, and contaminants removed.
Grinding may be easier in the winter when the asphalt is more brittle. If the shingles begin to stick together in hot weather, or from the heat of the equipment, spraying with water or blending with sand or gravel may help.
Depending on the equipment used, primary grinding may yield 2″ or 3″-minus size pieces. Secondary grinding may be required to make smaller pieces if needed; for example, an aggregate base may require 3/4″-minus, and asphalt pavement may require 1/2″-minus or 1/4″-minus.
Depending on the use, the shingles may have to be sieved after grinding, to conform to grading requirements.
For virtually all uses, contaminants must be removed. Possible contaminants may include:
- Metals, which they can remove with a rotating magnet.
- Wood, which sometimes accompanies shingles when the plywood is also replaced in a re-roof job. You can remove wood by hand, or floated off in a water flotation unit.
What Happens To The Shingles Once They’re Recycled?
So, once your shingles have been recycled, what happens to them? Well, because they are made of asphalt, it makes sense that they are turned into materials to make asphalt pavements. Ground-up shingles are typically added to the pavement and in many cases may actually improve the quality of the pavement. Other uses include:
- Asphalt pavement,
- Aggregate base and subbase,
- Cold patch for potholes, sidewalks, utility cuts, driveways, ramps, bridges, and parking lots,
- Pothole patch,
- Road and ground cover,
- New roofing,
- Fuel oil, and
- Producing energy
Shingle Recycling is on the Rise
A 2014 NAPA Asphalt Pavement Industry Survey showed that the use of both manufacturing waste and recycled shingles in asphalt mixtures increased to an all-time high in 2014, almost a 25 percent increase from 2013. This represents 400,000 tons or 2.2 million barrels of virgin asphalt preserved by recycling manufacturing waste and asphalt shingles.
Ready To Recycle Your Asphalt Shingles?
To see if your area offers shingle recycling, you can check online at www.earth911.com and www.shinglerecycling.org. Visit asphaltroofing.org for more information on shingle recycling and on the other sustainable benefits of asphalt shingles like cool roofing.
When you are ready for a new roof, give us a call at 636-699-0449.