The Importance and Problems Of Recycling Shingles

Shingles in demolition jobDespite the EPA’s backing, shingle recycling has been slow to increase in the US due to a variety of factors. At C&D World Magazine, Douglas Robinson went in-depth on this topic to advocate the use of recycled shingles as a commodity.The practice of recycling shingles has been limited because of hot mix asphalt plant operators refusing to pay market value for them. In the US, there are nearly 4-thousand hot mix plants producing more than 500-million tons of asphalt each year. There’s plenty of market for recycled shingles here, but the industry has been slow to change and embrace the reuse of waste materials.Additionally, state highway departments have also been slow to embrace the potential of recycled shingles, despite the approval of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. The AASHTO has approved specifications for processes that would turn waste shingles into asphalt pavement. Despite this approval, state and municipal officials throughout the country have required their own tests and approval, which causes delays and ultimately makes the use of recycled shingles more of a headache.There also seems to be some confusion over the true value of waste shingles when it comes to greenhouse gas credits. These credits are given as incentives by the EPA and LEED for asphalt companies to adopt more “green” processes. The use of waste materials in asphalt would qualify as a green initiative, but due to inconsistent valuation, many companies don’t get enough incentives to adopt new processes.The EPA is strongly behind the practice of recycling materials and has specifically backed shingle recycling with initiatives like the Shingle Recycling Forums. They’ve also sponsored projects that research the use of shingles in pavement.There are a number of benefits to recycling waste shingles recovered from construction and demolition projects. Recycling keeps these materials out of landfills and can provide cheaper materials to ashphalt companies. There’s the added benefit of keeping bitumen, which is refined from oil, out of landfills and soil. Currently, each year sees 11-million tons of shingles added to landfills, which equals 2.75-million tons of bitumen being buried with 25-percent of a shingles’ weight comes from bitumen. That’s a valuable resource that could be reused that’s instead being wasted and harming the environment.At Demolition Technologies, we’re advocates for environmentally friendly processes like reusing and recycling waste materials and keeping them out of landfills. To learn more about how recycling plays a significant role in our demolition projects, contact us