Recycling Asphalt Roofs

Posted on: 13 July 2015

Most roofs with asphalt shingles need to be replaced at least every 20 years, although storm damage might result in the need to replace the roof even sooner.  Roofs generally weigh between 3 and 4 tons, which results in a huge amount of asphalt shingles in landfills each year.  One fairly new option homeowners and roofing companies have is to recycle the asphalt shingles in the roofs that are demolished. 

Why should you consider recycling your asphalt shingles?

One of the main reasons to consider recycling your shingles when you replace your roof is to help out the environment!  One of the most common uses of recycled asphalt shingles is in the creation of hot mix asphalt.  The shingles are ground up and used in hot mix asphalt to make new roads.  Using recycled asphalt shingles in hot mix asphalt helps towns save money, keep the quality of their pavement up and also conserves natural resources that are typically used in the creation of asphalt. 

Other uses for used asphalt shingles are to help produce energy and in other road maintenance and roofing products.  Recycling used asphalt shingles can serve a purpose and keep a useful product out of landfills.

How do I recycle asphalt shingles?

If you are considering recycle asphalt shingles after a roof demolition, the first step is to find a place in your area that is capable of completing the job.  A regular recycling center does not usually take on this task.  Most large cities will have an asphalt shingle recycler that can do the job, and there are websites dedicated to finding one near you. 

Once you find a place that will accept used asphalt shingles, make sure you understand their needs.  Some will request that other materials are separated ahead of time.  Things like wood, metal, plastic and solvents may have to be separated out, or the recycler may allow you to keep them in.  Typically nails are allowed to stay in the shingles, because most asphalt shingle recycling machines are equipped with the ability to remove those nails automatically.  

How are asphalt shingles recycled?

Once the shingles are put in a roll off container and taken away, the recycler will separate them if it wasn't required that you do it ahead of time.  Next, the shingles are placed in a grinder that chews them up into smaller pieces.  They go past a magnet that is very strong and pulls nails out, then they end up back in a roll off container.  From there they go through the grinder again, this time with a screen so that pieces that are too large are kept out.  There is also usually a type of water system that keeps the temperatures low enough during the process that they material can still be deemed useful.    

After the process of grinding the asphalt shingles, the smaller pieces are sent to an asphalt producer.  From there they are typically recycled into hot-mix asphalt which then used to make new roads. 

When you need a new roof, consider recycling your asphalt shingles (through an outlet such as Alpart Scrap Iron & Metals Inc) and help make a positive difference.