Shingles Recycling: Your Roof Could Be a Road

Earth911 does a whole lot when it comes to recycling. Beyond its basic online service — which helps visitors locate recycling centers in their area — the organization teamed up last year with E-World Online to create recycling labels for household electronics, an effort aimed at reducing e-waste. Now it has joined forces with global building materials manufacturer Owens Corning to double down on shingle recycling.

According to Owens Corning, asphalt shingles — a common roofing material, and a common form of waste in home repair projects — may currently account for up to 5 percent  of total annual building-related waste. The company and Earth911 aim to help raise awareness about the environmental opportunities that shingles recycling offers and encourage more homeowners and contractors to get involved.

image via Shutterstock

What are these environmental opportunities, exactly? We’re so glad you asked. As it turns out, asphalt shingles can find new life, when recycled, as asphalt pavement. In fact, a typical roof can yield around 200 feet of a two-lane highway. One ton of recycled shingles yields the equivalent of one barrel of oil, so pavement produced this way saves energy over virgin materials while preserving resources. As asphalt shingles currently constitute 67 percent of the U.S. roofing market, they present a significant recycling opportunity.

To help homeowners and contractors alike take advantage of that opportunity, Earth911.com now hosts a new Shingles Recycling page with “expert-level resources” on the ecologically responsible disposal of asphalt shingles. The website, in conjunction with Owens Corning, will also be developing stories for the website with facts, tips and ideas to help readers improve their knowledge about shingles recycling.

Owens Corning Roofing and Asphalt LLC is the first roofing manufacturer to establish a program for recycling shingles. Since that program began three years ago, it has recycled more than 100,000 tons of shingles into over 1000 miles of paved roads.

Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.