The Benefits of Shingle Recycling

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If you’re looking to save money (and who isn’t?), think about shingle recycling. In many cases, recycling roofing is more cost effective than dumping. In a recent survey, contractors said they would be willing to take the time to separate torn-off shingles from other waste if they could save 10% on disposal costs and market themselves as contractors who recycle shingles.

That one word, “market,” is key. It’s clear (anecdotally, anyway, from talking to many roofing contractors) that most customers prefer that their old roofing materials are recycled. This means that if you recycle, it can help differentiate your business.

Recycling old asphalt for roads reduces the need for new oil, which could result in less dependence on foreign oil. In addition, recycling the mineral part helps conserve natural resources.

Besides the environmental benefits, recycling saves everyone money. Taxpayers can save when towns use recycled asphalt for paving, contractors save by reducing their energy and material costs, and the paving and dumpster companies reduce their costs as well. Recycled pavement can be reclaimed multiple times, which minimizes the use of new materials and helps preserve landfill space.

Asphalt is America’s most recycled material. It’s the main component in 80% of roofs and 94% of America’s roads.

An asphalt shingle is made from sand, glass, limestone, and asphalt and it’s 100% recycled and doesn’t use any government grants. On the roof it is strong and adaptable and on the road it is a smooth and safe pavement. Asphalt is used for roads because it goes down quickly, offers good traction, and is quiet and smooth to drive on.

Although it is not available everywhere, shingle recycling is gaining ground and is currently offered in some form in all 50 states. Shingles, felt, or other asphaltic underlayment, nails, and flashing can all be recycled. However, mixed waste cannot – rotted wood, in particular, is a problem (it doesn’t make good pavement).

Separating materials on the job requires a little more labor; it’s like separating darks and lights when doing laundry, but you don’t have to separate out the nails.  The grinder at the recycling yard can pull off the nails with a magnet and recycle them. That results in 15 pounds of nails for every ton of tear-off shingles. Additionally, most recyclers offer documentation of recycling for LEED® and other green building certification programs. If the recycling rate is over 50%, the project is eligible for one point and can help move it closer toward developing a more sustainable building.

We strongly encourage asphalt shingle recycling. In fact, GAF is the only company that partners with shingle recyclers nationwide and provides an incentive for recycling. GAF also sponsors the Find-A-Recycler section on

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  1. Angel Pineda

    We are roofing contractor in Stroudsburg, PA. We save money in dumping fees and our customers feel better knowing the waste isn’t going into the land fill. It is a win win for all.

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