Are Asphalt Shingles Eco-Friendly?

by | Jun 27, 2022 | Asphalt Shingle Roofing, Blog

Environmentally friendly is often not the first phrase that comes to mind when considering asphalt shingle roofing. Asphalt is a byproduct of crude oil refining and thus not the most sustainable or earth-conscious roofing material.

However, if you plan on replacing your asphalt shingle roofing system, you don’t have to worry about the old shingles ending up in a landfill. That is because, thanks to technological advances, asphalt shingles are now recyclable.

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According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, about 11 million tons of asphalt shingle waste is produced yearly. Ten million tons of this asphalt shingle waste is produced by homeowners alone during the asphalt shingle tear-off process. The other million is the waste produced during the shingle manufacturing process.

When it comes to recycling asphalt shingles, it is usually easier and cheaper to recycle the manufacturer’s waste. This is because this asphalt is a little cleaner and hasn’t been mixed with fiberglass, felt paper, cotton, etc. However, just because it’s easier doesn’t mean it’s impossible, or there isn’t a market for it.

According to Todd Genovese of Lafarge North America, even “clean” shingles aren’t always cleaned and often have to go through a cleaning process, much like the shingles that have been torn off residential homes. He mentions that being quite a distance from a shingle manufacturer is a contributing factor in making use of residential asphalt tear-offs.

Recycled asphalt shingles are a popular material used to create roadworks, pavements, and other roofing materials. The US market for recycled asphalt shingles is increasing as more states use the material to build roads or improve their road networking systems. Parking lot and driveway developments are also increasingly making use of the material.

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In Minnesota, the local government has used recycled asphalt shingles for hiking and biking trails. And in Georgia, the local government has declared that asphalt from manufacturing waste makes up 5% of the total road and paving mixtures.

Using recycled asphalt shingles has significantly saved industries like road, transportation, and the building industry. Their costs have been reduced as well as their carbon output. Asphalt shingles may have a slightly bad rap for being a little less eco-friendly than other roofing materials, but at least now, you can rest assured that your residential tear-off is being put to good use.

Are you considering replacing your asphalt shingle roof and want to know how to dispose of your tear-off shingles safely? Give Hero Roofing a call today, and we’ll assist you with all your roofing needs.