The recycling of building materials during remodeling, renovations, and new construction projects has increased in recent years. Depending on when the initial structure was built, there can be numerous materials that are able to be recycled and reused for other purposes, such as:
- Concrete Blocks
- Wood Support Beams and Frames
- Metal Supports and Brackets
- Fiberglass Insulation
- Aluminum and Steel Duct Work
- Copper and Plastic Plumbing
- Electrical Wiring
More recently, adding to the list of growing recyclable building materials are traditional roofing shingles. Traditional shingles are composed of fiber, asphalt cement, and hard aggregate. These are the basic ingredients found in asphalt roads. Asphalt is normally heated to very high temperatures when these ingredients and others are mixed together before they are melted. They result in the asphalt roads we drive on every day.
Recycling asphalt shingles is a move in the right direction to preserving the environment and re-appropriating a product that also contains petroleum-based tars. Based upon information obtained from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), there are roughly 11 million tons of used roofing shingles that end up in landfills annually.
By developing more effective recycling methods for traditional roofing shingles, it could be potentially possible to eventually eliminate this source of waste from our landfills almost completely. However, part of the problem with recycling the shingles is cleaning and removing other materials from them after they are removed from a roof.
The shingles could contain nails, pieces of metals, and wood. In addition, the shingles need to be processed so they meet current asphalt road mixing requirements. This could include determining the levels of possible asbestos in older shingles, oxidation levels from exposure to the sun and elements, and incorporating a soft-based binding material into the recycled shingles.
Even with these challenges, some states have already started or are moving ahead with recycling programs. For instance, in Missouri in 2011 alone, over 48,000 tons of recycled roofing shingles were incorporated into roads the state repaved that year.
In New Mexico, remote rural communities, like Vado, that normally have to deal with dusty dirt roads are getting an upgrade to recycled roof shingled roads. Many remote communities have several “private” dirt roads, long due for repair, not maintained by their respective counties.
Rather than bringing in more dirt and heavy road grading equipment, the state decided to use recycled roofing shingles instead. The process being used in these areas is to simply “pour” the recycled materials onto the roads and spread it around. The shingles are not being incorporated into road asphalt.
The state decided to explore what effects motorists and Mother Nature will have on the shingles over time, and their part in causing them to break down further and harden.
Currently, the state is using this method to address three of the more problematic dirt roads in Vado. If successful, it could help make repaving roads in remote rural areas in New Mexico more cost-effective and faster than traditional asphalt paving methods.
Here at Q-Cad, we actively support the recycling of viable building materials and protecting our environment. We have enjoyed sharing the latest building materials recycling updates with you. For all of your remodeling, renovation, and new construction projects, do not hesitate to contact us at 800-700-3305 for help creating and developing CAD architectural drafting blue prints, drawings, and schematics.