Construction and demolition (C&D) projects produce a significant amount of waste each year, adding up to 600 million tons of C&D waste according to the EPA. This waste includes concrete, wood products, drywall and plasters, steel, brick and clay tile, asphalt shingles, and asphalt concrete. Of the total waste, asphalt shingles account for 15.1 million tons.
Creating sustainable practices in the construction industry is key to protecting the planet. Recycling and working with recycled materials can minimize the impact that construction projects have on the environment by keeping waste materials out of the landfill and creating a cyclical use cycle that feeds itself.
Using recycled roof shingles and recycling the shingles that end up as a waste product during a roof replacement or installation can help lessen the environmental impact of construction projects, among other benefits.
How Are Shingles Recycled?
The most common style of shingles in the U.S. is asphalt shingles, which accounts for roughly 75% of roofing materials. When asphalt shingles end up in the landfill, they can take over 300 years to fully decompose. The characteristics that allow them to protect a roof from damage and leaks are the same characteristics that keep them from breaking down quickly. When they are torn off during a project, they can be recycled and used for other applications.
Recycled asphalt shingles (RAS) can be reused as paving material and aggregate base for paving projects, and as patching material roads and bridges. This benefits the environment because it keeps waste materials out of landfills. It also has cost benefits for manufacturers and contractors that can be passed on to the consumer and taxpayers who ultimately fund community road projects.
One company has even worked to create the first asphalt shingles that are made from recycled content with the goal of creating “a circular economy for asphalt roofing shingles.”
Benefits Of Using Recycled Shingles
Recycled shingles are typically synthetic roof shingles that are made from recycled materials. Recycled shingles have many benefits:
1. Reduces The Amount Of Virgin Raw Materials Needed To Manufacture New Materials
Mining, extracting, and processing new, virgin materials takes energy and has an environmental impact. Using shingles made from recycled materials reduces the need for raw materials that must be removed from the earth and transported to their destination.
2. Reduces The Amount Of Waste That Ends Up In Landfills
It takes asphalt shingles around 300 years to decompose. Recycling asphalt shingles and turning them into new asphalt shingles can create a cyclic process that feeds itself without adding to landfills. Composite shingles are not only made from recycled materials, but they are also fully recyclable at the end of their life, to reduce the amount of C&D waste that ends up in landfills.
3. Increases Durability Without The Weight
Asphalt shingles protect the roof, but they can suffer from wear and tear over time and have a lifespan of 20-25 years. Other durable materials like slate and clay that last longer, sometimes up to 100 years, are significantly heavier than asphalt, wood, or metal and often require additional structural support to allow the roof to hold their weight.
Composite shingles made from recycled materials are lightweight, and provide exceptional durability but without the added weight of other materials.
4. Achieves An Authentic Look With A Focus On Sustainability
Shingles that are made from recycled plastic and rubber are 100%-recyclable and are a sustainable alternative to traditional materials and asphalt shingles. Recycled shingles can mimic the look of slate, clay, and cedar shake shingles and can be used in preservation efforts for older and historical buildings.
The National Park Service recommends using historic materials for preservation and restoration projects, but they acknowledge that sometimes using substitute materials is in the best interest of the project and the environment. In some cases, the NPS will allow recycled synthetic roof tiles in preservation projects because “roofing shingles made from recycled plastic and rubber appear to be an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional shingles that shows promise and is welcome in the sustainable building marketplace.”
Brava Offers Recycled Shingles With The Beauty Of Traditional Materials
Brava Roofing has recycled composite roofing tiles that mimic the look of traditional materials but without the added weight of slate and clay, and the potential fire hazard of cedar shake.
Old World Slate tiles display authentic variegated colors that capture the weathered beauty of a classic material.
Spanish Barrel Tile Roofing is a sustainable way to bring authentic beauty to Mediterranean and Mission style homes — though they work well on lots of other styles as well. These recycled roof tiles showcase the authentic beauty of clay and are also available in a range of colors that are sure to enhance the look of your home.
Cedar Shakes capture the simplicity and beauty of early colonial homes but without the fire dangers associated with traditional cedar shakes. They are also more durable, and can last over 50 years without cupping or cracking.
Contact the experts at Brava today to check out our recycled composite shingles.