Around 80% of roofing shingles in America today are made of asphalt, yet it often surprises people to learn that until relatively recent, the waste generated in removing this shingles would be sent straight to the nearest landfill site. However, thanks to a greater understanding of recycling and a drive to reduce the amount of waste we produce, more and more centre that recycle asphalt shingle have been popping up in cities and towns all over America. So why are asphalt shingle recycling centre such an important development and how do they actually recycle your roofing?

ashphalt shingles


Why Do We Recycle Asphalt Shingles?

A standard roof removal generates an enormous amount of waste – around one ton of asphalt shingles for a single layer of roofing to three tons for a double layered roof. In total, around 10 million tons of waste is generated in this way across the country every year, and that doesn’t even include the 1 million tons of scrap shingles produced as a by product of the manufacturing process. Our landfills are already under strain, so it is easy to see why we would want to avoid adding this vast amount of waste to it, especially as the amount of taken taken to break down asphalt shingles amounts to around 300 years. No wonder that some states have already issued legislation, or are in the process of doing so, that bans any disposal of asphalt shingles in landfill facilities. It can be a challenge to dispose of this roofing material in any other way as it cannot be either composted or burned – in fact any attempt to burn asphalt shingles results in a gas that can harm human health. Luckily, recycling asphalt shingles is the answer, and as an added bonus, this process also reduces our dependence on oil, by two barrels for every ton recycled.


How Do We Recycle Shingles?

All shingles removed during the roof tear off process will slide down into a trash bin placed beside your home. Following the removal of the roof, any substances which are not asphalt are sorted and removed – either on site or at the recycling facility. Some non-asphalt items can remain, such as nails which are removed by powerful magnets at the recycling facility and wood scraps which can be filtered out by flotation. Some asphalt shingle recycling services are free of charge while others charge a minimal fee, which is nevertheless often a lot cheaper than the cost of sending the waste to landfill. Shingles are then ground up at the recycling facility into pieces of different sizes. Sometimes they will be 1/4″, other times 3″ depending on their final usage. Depending on their intended final purpose, they may also undergo sieving too.

Where Do Recycled Shingles End Up?

The most likely place for recycled asphalt shingles to be used is in building roads. Sometimes they will be used as paving, or possibly as an aggregate sub-base or base. As yet, many local government bodies have not yet approved them for use in resurfacing public roads. Another common use is to patch ramps, roads, bridges, sidewalks and parking lots or for patching driveways, paths and private roads on residential properties. They may also be used as ground cover, for fuel oil or to control erosion and dust on unpaved roads or on construction sites. They may even be turned back into new asphalt shingles and be used once again as roofing.