What is asphalt shingle recycling?
It is becoming increasingly common for shingles to be recycled instead of going to a landfill. Shingle recycling is the process of taking asphalt shingles from roof tear-offs and reusing them in other products, ensuring the material does not end up in 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 have most commonly been used in pavement, which offsets the need for new asphalt and aggregate, and additional uses are being explored. Some manufacturers have developed or are developing processes to produce asphalt roofing shingles containing recycled materials from post-consumer and post-manufacture waste shingles, thereby creating a potential circular economy for asphalt roofing shingles. Asphalt shingle recycling can create jobs for recycling locations, reduce costs for paving, and allow homeowners to make a positive environmental contribution.
In what products are recycled asphalt shingles used?
The primary use of recycled shingles is to make roads, typically by adding pulverized shingles to the other asphalt used in pavement. In many cases, this may actually improve the pavement quality. Recycled shingles can also be used as an input to make roofing products or road maintenance products, or to produce energy.
How many asphalt shingles are recycled in roads?
One of the best estimates of asphalt shingle recycling into roads is developed by the National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA), whose annual survey of asphalt mixture producers and state asphalt pavement associations estimates the use of reclaimed asphalt shingles (RAS) into asphalt pavement.
Using information from the 2021 NAPA survey,1 ARMA estimates an equivalent of approximately 252,000 residential roofs were recycled into asphalt pavement in 2021. 2
What other options are available for recycling asphalt roofing besides using asphalt shingles in pavement?
In addition to use in pavement, asphalt roofing products can be used as:
- an ingredient in cold patch formulations used for pothole repair,
- an additive in manufacture of new asphalt shingles, underlayments, and roll roofing products,
- aggregate for the base layer in road construction,
- a component in the production of roof pavers,
- a dust and erosion control agent for rural roads and construction sites,
- and a fuel supplement in incinerators for energy generation.
Which states allow recycled asphalt shingles (RAS) into their pavement? Where is this practice most prevalent?
The National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA) annual survey of asphalt mixture producers and state asphalt pavement associations provides information about recycled asphalt shingle use in each state. In their 2021 survey,1 RAS usage was reported in twenty-five states. RAS usage has been reported every year from 2011 through 2021 in each of the following states: Arkansas, California, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin. In the 2021 survey, the top ten states with highest estimated RAS usage are Illinois, Texas, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Kansas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Maryland, Minnesota, and California.
How can I find an asphalt shingle recycler nearby?
Shingle recycling is available in most major markets in the United States and in some locations in Canada, and new sites continue to open. There are multiple resources for finding a recycler, including online at www.shinglerecycling.org and www.earth911.com, or by calling 1-800-CLEANUP. You can also use local resources for finding businesses or conduct an internet search. No matter which method is used to find a recycler, contact them directly to confirm their current capability to accept and process shingles for recycling.
Is every asphalt shingle recycler listed on ShingleRecycling.org or Earth911.com?
No! If you know of a location that is not listed, please let ShingleRecycling.org or Earth911.com know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Do roofing contractors or do-it-yourselfers have to separate material as it is removed from the roof?
Call ahead to your recycler to determine what your recycler allows. Each recycler has specific rules regarding requirements for separating shingles from other materials. It is good practice to keep shingles separate from other construction debris, such as wood or metal or other disposed materials.
What about nails?
You do not have to pull out nails — most recyclers use powerful magnets on the shingle grinder to separate nails from shingles and then recycle the nails as well. Confirm with your local recycler on its capabilities and requirements for accepting shingles for recycling.
How much does recycling cost?
Recycling costs vary. It is typically cheaper than landfilling and might even become less expensive if materials are separated properly.
I do not want a large roll-off container in my yard. Will recyclers work with dump trailers?
Many recyclers are flexible, and options can be determined by calling to ask.
Should I bring up recycling with my contractor?
Many roofing contractors will market their past success in recycling shingles. Regardless, any roofing contractor should be open to the conversation and should confirm the ability and logistics for recycling the shingles involved in your project.
1Williams, Brett A., J. Richard Willis, and Joseph Shacat (National Asphalt Pavement Association, Greenbelt, MD), “Asphalt Pavement Industry Survey on Recycled Materials and Warm-Mix Asphalt Usage: 2021,” December 2022.
2Estimate is based on assumption the shingles disposed during a typical single-layer roof replacement project weigh 2.5 pounds per square foot of roof area, and the average size of a typical roof is 2000 square feet.
DISCLAIMER OF LIABILITY: This document was prepared by the Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association and is disseminated for informational purposes only. Nothing contained herein is intended to revoke or change the requirements or specifications of the individual roofing material manufacturers or local, state and federal building officials that have jurisdiction in your area. Any question, or inquiry, as to the requirements or specifications of a manufacturer, should be directed to the roofing manufacturer concerned. THE USER IS RESPONSIBLE FOR ASSURING COMPLIANCE WITH ALL APPLICABLE LAWS AND REGULATIONS.
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