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Recycling Asphalt Shingles: Guide for Roofers

Typically, it has not been standard practice for roofers to recycle asphalt shingles because the process involves specialized knowledge, some training and extra effort. However, as the practice is gaining popularity across the US, more roofers are beginning to look into what it would take to start recycling and the benefits that can be gained from it. If you are a roofing company considering getting into recycling asphalt shingles, there are some important things you need to know to figure out if this process would be beneficial for your business.

Benefits of Recycling Asphalt Shingles

1. If a recycling facility exists, it is often in town, located much closer than the landfill, which means there will be less trucking involved, saving you time and money. You need to find out the location of a recycling facility in your area.

2. Most facilities that recycle charge a lower tipping fee than the one at the landfill. The cost averages around $30 per ton or roughly $10 less per ton than ordinary construction waste.

3. As more homeowners are getting into green living and learning about the detrimental environmental impact of dumping asphalt shingles into landfills, offering to recycle their asphalt shingles roof will make you stand out as a Green Roofing Business. This can be a highly advantageous marketing strategy that can bring you more clients.

Challenges You Need To Consider

If you find that there is in fact a recycling facility in your area that will take asphalt roofing shingles, there are a few things you need to have lined up, before you can get started.

1. You need to educate your roofers about the purpose and process of recycling asphalt roofing shingles. Roofers will need to be specially trained to separate out the shingles from other construction debris. In some states, where asbestos testing is required, roofers will need to be trained in taking samples of asphalt shingles to be sent for asbestos testing prior to being recycled. Thus, you need to find out the specific regulations for asphalt shingles recycling in your state, and whether asbestos testing is required.

2. Since separating asphalt shingles from other construction debris takes longer than simply driving them to a landfill, you need to figure out the added cost of the job, if you or your roofers will be spending extra time on this procedure. You should factor into this equation the amount of extra time spent, the savings you will get from shortened trip to the recycling facility vs. the landfill, as well as the cheaper tipping prices you will pay at the recycling facility vs the landfill. You may also consider offering your clients the option of recycling their old asphalt shingles roof, explain the environmental benefits of this choice, and charge them extra money for it. This way, you will definately not lose any money, and may even earn a little extra.

Process of Recycling

1. If asbestos testing is required in your area, you need to test the shingles on the roof you will be tearing off for the presence of asbestos. When you get a contract for a tear off, get 3 shingles samples, one from each layer of the roof. The samples can be small, about the size of a quarter. Some recycling facilities do not require that you do an asbestos test prior to bringing the shingles, and will actually do the test themselves on site. You need to find out the rules at the recycling facility near you.

2. Send your samples to a testing lab in your area. Prior to this, find out what forms the lab requires. Obtain the forms and fill them out, so that they can be sent along with the samples. If the shingles contain asbestos over 1%, you will not be able to take them to a recycling facility, and they will have to be taken to an approved asbestos landfill. If the test results show that there is no asbestos, or the amount present meets the regulations standards of the local recycling facility, you can safely bring the shingles there.

3. Tear off the roof. To make the process of separating the shingles from other construction debris easier, start making two separate piles right away, rather than doing the job and then spending extra time separating out the two piles.

4. Proceed to the nearest recycling facility. Don’t forget your asbestos report, which needs to be presented to the gatekeeper at the facility.

5. When you enter, most facilities will have two dumpsters: one for trash and one for metals. You can throw the waste materials into the trash and then move to the shingle area, where the material will be unloaded and further sorted.

6. The recycling facility can refuse loads that are not clean. In this case, you can bring asphalt shingles to a landfill.

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