Recycling asphalt shingles is now possible thanks to this roofing giant | The Optimist Daily
Today’s Solutions: June 21, 2024

Affordable and easy to install, it’s not surprising that asphalt shingles are the most popular roofing material in the US, covering about 75 percent of the country’s roofs. The problem with it, however, is that 12 to 15 years after installation, they need to be replaced. Due to this, shingles too contribute greatly to the 11 million tons of asphalt waste that is generated every year, most of which ends up in landfills and takes centuries to decompose.

In an effort to relieve this strain on the environment, the biggest roof maker in North America, GAF, has come up with a patented recycling solution that turns wasted asphalt into new shingles for roofs — paving the way for a circular roofing system that the company aims to integrate within the entire product line.

So far, recycling roof shingles has proven difficult and costly due to the process of having to separate the actual asphalt from the rock granules that cover the top of the shingles. According to GAF’s senior VP, Dan Boss, the company’s new system recycles the shingles in an affordable way by cleanly removing that “stone dust.” As a result, about 90 percent of the shingle waste material is reused.

The patented process involves first chopping the discarded roof shingles into four-inch squares and removing the rock granules, which are set aside and reused later. The asphalt pieces are then ground up into a powder, and compacted into small briquettes which are melted at high temperature. Next, the resulting material is combined with raw materials to create new shingles, which contain up to 15 percent recycled material.

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