Asphalt shingles were first introduced in the early 1900’s, originally made up of organic material with a cotton rag used as a base. Eventually, in the 1920’s other materials would be used due to the rise in the price of cotton. Today, fiberglass and an organic base are the most common materials on the market.
The invention of shingles spread across North America and is still to date the most common roofing material. Though they have a lifespan of 15-30 years they do need to be replaced and repaired more frequently which contributes to the nearly 11 million tons of waste generated by asphalt shingles each year in the United States.
There is, however, a brighter future on the horizon for asphalt shingles. Over the past 25 years, there has been much success with recycling these shingles and repurposing them as hot mix asphalt or HMA. When melted down to use in the paving of roads it has been known on occasion to actually enhance the structure of the road.
Though asphalt shingle recycling is a great option for reducing the US’s C&D waste footprint there are a few challenges that the industry has to face. For starters, different regulations for clean recycling make it difficult to process the material in many areas. Low tipping fees at landfills make it difficult to compete with what some may call an “easier process” (sending the shingles straight to landfill). Possibly the biggest deterrent for shingle recycling is the cost of asbestos testing that is required in many locations.
Many benefits to this process have been seen as well with increasing quality of roads, reducing paving costs, reducing landfill waste, and creating jobs. Recycling Asphalt shingles is a great way to help the environment as well as the economy.
To learn more about how General Kinematics can help to improve your C&D recycling process contact GK today!