Do you ever wonder what happens to all of those old shingles that they take off your roof when they put on a new one? Most people don’t really ever give it much of a thought but old shingles have to go somewhere right? There are several kinds of roofing materials that have to be disposed of. There is slate, clay and concrete tile, metal, wooden shingles and shakes, and of course the most common… the asphalt shingle.
Most slate, clay and concrete tile, and metal can be recycled. Metal athens roofing that is torn off of homes and businesses is 100% recyclable. It is crushed, melted down and eventually used in other metal products such appliances, auto parts, and cans. Clay and concrete as well as slate roofing materials are also 100% recyclable. They can be crushed and used again as gravel, landscaping material, paving and parking lots.
But what about asphalt shingles? “APSHALT” ( The Magazine of the Asphalt Institute ) notes, “It is generally accepted that at least eleven million tons of old asphalt shingles are removed from American rooftops annually.” One question that is frequently asked is if asphalt shingles are considered Hazardous Waste? The answer is, no. Because asphalt shingles break down very slowly when left in a landfill. So you don’t have to worry about roofing crews, or yourself for that matter, being exposed to hazardous waste material.
Recycle Asphalt Shingles
Are they recyclable? The answer is yes. But not until lately. The cost of collection and the recycling process has not been unappealing at best due to government regulations. Recycled asphalt shingles are most commonly used in pavement. According to one article in “The Balance Small Business” two million tons of recycled asphalt shingle material was utilized in pavement across the United States in 2015.Most of the recycled product is used to build roads, patch pot holes, pave parking lots and walkways, and made into material to once again be used to make shingles.
One attractive aspect of recycling asphalt shingles is the jobs that are produced. Another benefit is that it allows opportunity to contribute to our environment by keeping the old asphalt shingles out of landfills. Remember, it is estimated that it takes asphalt shingles hundreds of years to fully decompose. Obviously we won’t be around to see that happen. But that is even a greater reason for encouraging more recycling plants to be built.
Millions of tons of asphalt shingles will again this year end up in our landfills across the nation because recycling facilities are not available. In time the demand for these facilities will increase as the expense to recycle decreases and it becomes more attractive for profit. Each year more and more states are banning the disposal of asphalt shingles in landfills.
So to answer the question, “What happens to the old asphalt shingles?” The landfill.