The roofing industry is changing to keep up with common green trends and more and more materials are becoming recyclable. When possible, we try to look into recycling components of a roof system. Not only does it help us reduce the amount of debris going into a landfill, but, in some rare cases, it can also provide cost savings. It all depends on what type of roof system and insulation you are removing. Fully adhered roofs can prove challenging as the face of the insulation typically gets damaged as the membrane is being removed. This causes the insulation to sustain damage, and the membrane has parts of the insulation adhered to it, making it non-recyclable. Mechanically attached roofs can be good candidates for recycling, depending on how they are installed. Ballasted roofs tend to be the best candidates for recycling. Once the ballast stone is removed, the underlying roof system is loose, which makes removal easy. If a ballasted roof has the right insulation under it, and it is in good condition, recycling can be ideal.
Are There Parts Of A Flat Roof That Can Be Recycled?
Which Materials Can Be Recycled?
- Asphalt Shingles: Asphalt shingles are recyclable which is great as they are one of the most common materials on rooftops today, asphalt shingles are definitely recyclable. The trouble is that there is a lot of misconception about recycling asphalt shingles, so it is up to the roofers to find a nearby facility that takes on this material.
- Metal: Metal roofing comes in several shapes and sizes today, all of which can be recycled. Most communities have metal-recycling plants and most professional roofers will bring the metal pieces to the facility once the job is completed. This material, in particular, is highly coveted as a recyclable item and is one of the easiest materials to recycle.
- EPDM Rubber: Found on low-slope or flat roofing, EPDM is a specialized rubber that protects your roof for 10 years or more. It can be difficult to recycle on a widespread level. A professional roofing team will contact the EPDM Roofing Association to find a facility that handles this rubber. Once recycled, the rubber turns into a powder that can be made into any other rubber-based product.
- Clay or Concrete Tiles: Although clay or concrete tiles can last for several decades, many need to be replaced at some time or another. These mineral-based products do not release any harmful chemicals when dumped in landfills, but the large volume that is discarded each year is problematic. Recycling is now an option to reduce this volume and the pieces can be used for construction projects, sidewalks, garden gravel, and many other applications.
The Recycling Process
Recycling a roof system is quite a labor-intensive process. With disposal, the roofing products are typically cut up and thrown in a dumpster to then go to a landfill. With recycling, the product often needs to be left in full sheets which are then bundled, and in some cases, carefully hand loaded into a truck. This can take a lot more time to complete which can affect any cost savings. In many cases, the extra work ends up costing more than the recycling savings, which means in most cases recycling is typically more expensive than disposal.
If you are interested in recycling your roof system, talk to us today. We take our work and the environment very seriously and weigh the environmental impact against each job.