Did you know that in the past, billions of kilograms of roofing materials ended up in landfills, doing nothing but wasting space? One roofing materials company, Owens Corning, noticed this trend and decided to take action. They launched a recycling program in 2009, and they’ve estimated that 1 billion kg (2.4 billion pounds) of shingles were recycled in 2014. Hundreds of people have jumped on board, committed to recycling their used roofing materials and keeping them out of landfills.
In the past, replacing your roof meant sending piles of roofing materials to a landfill. Today, recycling options for roofing materials have exploded. If you’re planning on replacing your roof, your old roofing materials could be refurbished and used for roads, playground surfacing, or even new roofing materials.
No matter the type of roof you’re getting rid of, you can help the environment by recycling the old materials. By recycling, you:
- Save the earth’s resources
- Reduce costs of roofing materials
- Create jobs at recycling locations
Recycling your old roof is easy, and recyclable material is used for many purposes.
What Your Recycled Roof is Used for
No matter what material your old roof was made of, manufacturers can use the material in a variety of ways.
If your roof is composed of asphalt shingles, rest assured that your old shingles can be used for a variety of purposes. The most common is pavement. Recycling plants grind up the shingles and add them to pavement. When added to pavement, the shingles improve the pavement’s quality.
In the future, asphalt may become a “hot” commodity—its heat can produce solar energy. Researchers hope to develop solar collectors that can harness this energy for widespread use.
And of course, asphalt shingles can create new roofing products. The more recycled asphalt available, the less new asphalt manufacturers need to produce.
If you’re installing a new rubber roof, you can already feel good about your recycling prowess—rubber shingles are often made from recycled tires.
Recycling rubber is a great idea, because rubber in landfills breaks down slowly and takes up a lot of room. Recycling plants can break down your old rubber shingles and turn them into playground surfaces, shoes, buckets, or doormats. Like asphalt, rubber can also be incorporated in road surfaces. Manufacturing or power plants can also burn rubber products to produce energy.
Other people will have no problem making use of your recycled metal. In fact, metal roofs are made up of at least 25% recycled metal in the first place. If you’re replacing your metal roof, the metal could be used to build a new roof. Recycled metal can also be used for:
- Building roads or bridges
- Manufacturing cars and aircraft
- Creating metal benches, tables, and other furniture
By recycling your wooden shingles, you preserve the lives of our favourite environmental features: trees.
Recycled wood can be used for dozens of purposes, including:
- Boxes and crates
How to Recycle Your Roofing Materials
Now that you’ve decided to recycle your roof, you need to find the right resources. First, talk to your roofing contractor and ask if their company recycles the materials. If they don’t—or if you’re replacing your roof by yourself—you can find a nearby recycling plant that will take your materials. Find the one nearest you with this search tool. Just type in the material you want to recycle, type your location, and click “Search.”
When you find a local recycling plant, give them a call and ask them for more information about bringing in your materials. Each recycling plant has different rules. Some may have you separate your materials before bringing them in. Don’t worry about taking out nails, though; nails are separated by magnets in the grinder, and then recycled as well.
Depending on how many materials you have, you may need to borrow or rent a truck to take them to the recycling plant. While this can be a bit of a hassle, rest assured that the time spent is well worth it. Just one trip to the recycling plant makes your roof materials available for dozens of others.
Why to Choose a Recycled Roof
While you’re recycling your old roofing materials, ask your roofing contractor about using recycled materials for your new roof. You can trust that these materials are durable, strong, and environmentally friendly. Manufacturers refurbish and reform the materials, always making sure the materials have no defects.
Prevent manufacturers from using valuable energy and resources to produce new roofing materials; use what’s already available and get a new green roof that lasts. And when it’s time to replace your roof, you know what to do—take the materials to your nearest recycling plant.