If you regularly work with asphalt, you probably already know that it is the most recycled material in the United States. Most of the road you drive on is probably repurposed. In fact, the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Federal Highway Administration say that a whopping 90 million tons of asphalt pavement is reclaimed each year. Of that 90 million tons, over 80 percent of it is recycled. This number is substantially impactful to the environment as well as the economy. You may be wondering, “Why is asphalt recycling so common?” The reason is based on the cost, physical makeup, and convenience of recycling. When it comes to repurposing, asphalt is the most cost-effective and repeat-recyclable. Incorporating the recycling of asphalt into your process can save you money and improve asphalt related products.
Reclaimed asphalt material, also called RAP, is created by mixing previously used asphalt and water, using either extremely hot or cold water depending on the physical makeup, history, and use of the asphalt. This process cleans and strengthens the material to be used in another pavement, highway, or other construction projects.
Asphalt is a costly material. Among the oil, transportation, labor, and laying costs, installing pavement, roads, or highways can get expensive. One critical benefit of asphalt repurposing is cost reduction. While recycling equipment and machinery itself will be an expense, the benefit of reducing transportation costs, minimizing materials costs, and shrinking labor costs vastly outweighs the price of setting up this process. Whether your company or your taxpayers are responsible for paying for your asphalt, cutting costs will always be helpful. Once you’ve replenished the capital involved in arranging your system, you can begin reinvesting all subsequent savings and improving your asphalt process and others even more.
Some materials, including traditional paper and plastic, can be recycled, but their quality will be diminished each time. While it is still important to recycle such goods, they only have a recycle life of two to three total recycles, and ultimately their useful life will end, resulting in a landfill as a final resting place.
Fortunately, this is not a concern with asphalt. Asphalt has limitless recycles. It maintains its quality and often even improves in quality with each repurpose, giving asphalt an indefinitely useful life. Every time it is recycled, the stiffness improves, making your roads and construction more sturdy and long-lasting, thereby reducing future purchasing and even repurposing costs. Many asphalt construction companies actively seek out recycled asphalt as it is simply more structurally sound than unused asphalt and is less expensive to refurbish than to create new asphalt from scratch.
Whether your goal is preserving the planet, improving quality, or limiting costs, asphalt recycling will help you meet it. Learn how to create the asphalt recycling system you need with General Kinematics today.