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Recycling Your Asphalt Roof: What Homeowners Need To Know

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If you are having your roof replaced, you might be concerned about where the old asphalt shingles will end up and how they will affect the environment. Your concerns are valid, as 11 million tons of shingles are added to landfills each year. Fortunately, shingles can be recycled. Recycling shingles is a great way to keep them out of landfills, while also contributing to the creation of new products to reduce over use of resources. You probably have a few questions about recycling your shingles. As a homeowner, the following of some answers that will help you.

Does recycling the shingles from a single roof really make the much of a difference?

The answer is yes. The shingles taken from just one average American home can pave about 200 ft of highway. Besides this, its also estimated that when your households chooses to recycle shingles instead of hauling them to the dump, more resources are saved-- especially oil. Each home that recycles saves about two barrels of oil from needing to be used, as less virgin oil is needed to make new shingles and new roads from recycled materials. Also, pavement made with recycled shingles costs less to manufacture, so you directly contribute to reducing the cost of infrastructure in your area when you choose to recycle your roof. 

What are recycled shingles used for?

Roofs are most often turned into roads or new roofing material. The asphalt shingles are ground up and added to the hot mix that is used to create new pavement. Old shingle pieces can also be used as road base, and can be mixed with gravel to reduce dust and noise in rural areas. You also may not know that road quality is actually improved when recycled shingles are part of the equation. Pavement made with recycled shingles, when compared to its all-new counterpart, boasts

  • a longer lifespan.
  • greater resistance to moisture and temperature damage.
  • fewer cracks.
  • fewer potholes and ruts that need to be repaired.
  • lower costs for repair and re-pavement when needed. 

Where can I take my shingles to recycle them?

Now that you have been convinced that recycling your shingles is a win-win situation all around, you might be stumped as to how to go about it. The first place to check is with your roofing contractor. If you are having your roof replaced, express your desire to recycle your shingles to the companies you are considering. Some may already recycle all the waste they remove from the roof. Others may offer it as an option for customers. However, if contractors in your area do not offer recycling services, you will need to haul the shingles to the recycling center yourself. Some states promote recycling of shingles, while others have not yet made it a priority. You can look for a recycling center in your area with online tools like this one.

If you find that your state is not recycling friendly, you can help push for change by starting or signing petitions or by writing letters to local expressing the demand and benefits of the service. 

How much does it cost to recycle my shingles?

It costs to throw things away, but it also costs to recycle. Landfills, however, are not as economical as you might think. Even though the shingles taken to the dump will not be turned into anything, land and upkeep will still create consumer costs. In many areas, recycling shingles is actually less expensive. Looking for a roofing contractor that recycles waste will not only be good for the environment, but it will be good for the bank account, as these professionals will often have to pay less for waste disposal if they recycle-- leading to more savings for you. Click here for more info on roofing projects.