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How To Recycle Roof Shingles: A Complete Guide

Posted on December 30, 2023

Estimated Reading Time : 5 Min.

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recycle roof shingles

Do you want to know how the roof shingle recycling process works? Recycling shingles is a sustainable approach towards roofing. Since it takes around 300 years for asphalt shingles to decompose completely, homeowners and industry professionals alike began looking for ways to recycle roof shingles. 

Thanks to the composition of asphalt shingles, they can be recycled to form new products that can later be used for various purposes in many different industries. All in all, recycling old roof shingles prevents them from going into landfills and lying there for decades or even centuries. In this comprehensive blog post, we will provide you with the step-by-step process to recycle roof shingles.

What Is Roof Shingle Recycling?

Roof shingle recycling is a sustainable practice aimed at reusing old roofing materials rather than sending them to landfills. This eco-friendly process involves collecting, sorting, and processing discarded roof shingles to create recycled materials that can be used in various applications. 

Old roofing shingles are recycled during a roof replacement project. Instead of disposing of the torn-off shingles in landfills, contractors and homeowners can contact a recycling institute or individual companies to ensure the shingles are collected and processed for recycling. 

How To Recycle Roof Shingles 

Recycling old roof shingles isn’t a complicated process, the steps taken are below. 

1. Collection of the Old Shingles

The first crucial step in recycling roof shingles is the responsible collection of the old roofing shingles. Roofing contractors, homeowners, and recycling facilities all play roles in this process. Homeowners can first choose contractors committed to sustainable shingle recycling practices. The contractor you pick will then remove the old shingles during the roof replacement, ensuring they are carefully gathered for recycling. 

2. Sorting and Cleaning

Once collected, the old shingles undergo a sorting process. Metal, wood, and other contaminants are removed to ensure that only the shingles proceed to the recycling stage. This sorting is essential for maintaining the quality of the recycled material. Subsequently, the shingles are cleaned to eliminate any remaining nails, debris, or other impurities, preparing them for the next phase of the recycling process.

3. Shredding and Grinding

In this transformative stage, the cleaned shingles are shredded and ground into smaller pieces. Shredding breaks down the shingles into manageable sizes, and grinding further refines the material. This step is crucial for creating a raw material that can be effectively repurposed. The smaller pieces are ready for the next stage of chemical processing, where the true transformation of the material occurs.

4. Chemical Processing

Chemical processing involves breaking down the asphalt in the shingles to extract the needed components. This step is pivotal in the production of recycled asphalt, a key ingredient in various construction materials. The chemical processing not only facilitates the extraction of useful elements but also promotes the reuse of materials that would otherwise end up in landfills.

What Are Recycled Shingles Used For? 

Recycled shingles can be used for many purposes and in various industries, including: 

1. Constructing Pavements for Roads

Recycled shingles, particularly the recycled asphalt derived from them, play a significant role in road construction. The durable nature of recycled asphalt makes it an ideal component for creating road surfaces. By incorporating recycled shingles into road paving projects, there is a reduction in the demand for new asphalt, contributing to a more sustainable and resource-efficient infrastructure development.

2. Manufacturing New Shingles

One of the notable applications of recycled shingles is in the manufacturing of new roofing materials. The processed and refined materials from recycled shingles can be reused in the production of roofing shingles. The resulting recycled shingles offer a sustainable alternative to traditional roofing materials.

3. Sustainable Construction Products 

Beyond roofing, recycled shingles contribute to sustainable construction practices. These materials can be used in various construction projects, such as the creation of eco-friendly building components. The incorporation of recycled shingles aligns with the principles of a circular economy, which focuses on reusing materials and products. 

4. Ground Cover and Landscaping

Recycled shingles, when ground into smaller pieces, can be utilized as ground cover in landscaping projects. This application provides an eco-friendly alternative to traditional landscaping materials. The shingles’ durability and composition make them suitable for pathways, driveways, or mulch, offering a sustainable solution for outdoor spaces.

Advantages of Recycling Roof Shingles

Recycling roof shingles may not personally benefit individuals, but it can create an overall impact on the environment and the costs associated with shingle manufacturing. Here are a few advantages of recycling roof shingles:

1. Preserves Resources and the Environment

Recycling roof shingles significantly contributes to environmental conservation by diverting materials from landfills. This practice helps reduce the waste from landfills and minimizes the environmental impact associated with the disposal of roofing materials. 

Moreover, the recycling of roof shingles aids in the preservation of natural resources. By reusing materials such as asphalt, the demand for new resources is reduced. 

2. Lower Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Recycling roof shingles, particularly those containing asphalt, helps lower greenhouse gas emissions. As asphalt shingles break down in landfills, they contribute to air pollution as they release benzene and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air.

Not only is air pollution the issue, but the heavy metals like lead and Cadmium released from the shingles can contaminate the soil. The traditional production of these roofing materials releases significant amounts of emissions, and recycling offers a more environmentally friendly alternative, supporting global efforts to minimize climate change.

3. Reduces Material Cost 

Recycling roof shingles can lead to cost savings for both consumers and construction companies. Using recycled materials in construction projects, such as road paving or manufacturing new shingles, can be more cost-effective than relying solely on new resources. This encourages the adoption of sustainable practices in the construction industry.

4. Creates Job Opportunities

The recycling industry and the associated companies, including the recycling of roof shingles, creates job opportunities. The people involved in the processing of recycled materials, as well as industries utilizing these materials, contribute to employment opportunities and the development of a more sustainable economy.

Final Thoughts

Overall, recycling roof shingles is an eco-friendly roofing practice that reduces the amount of waste that ends up in landfills. If your roof needs to be replaced, consider finding a contractor that will help you recycle the old shingles. 

Contact A. Fricker Roofing & Waterproofing In Tulsa, OK, For Your Roof Replacement 

If you are considering replacing your roof but also want to recycle your old shingles, contact the expert roofers at A. Fricker Roofing & Waterproofing in Tulsa, OK. The roofers at the company are proficient at handling any roofing task, including new roof installation, repair, or complete roof replacement
Contact us today at (918) 402-7167!

FAQs

A. While asphalt shingles are the most commonly recycled, some types of wood and metal shingles can also be recycled. It’s essential to check with local recycling facilities or roofing contractors for specific guidelines.

A. Yes, recycled asphalt is known for its durability. In fact, it often exhibits similar or even improved performance compared to traditional asphalt, making it a sustainable and reliable choice for various applications.

A. Homeowners can actively contribute by choosing roofing contractors with a commitment to sustainability. Additionally, separating recyclable materials during roof replacement and renovation projects can aid in the recycling process.

recycle roof shingles