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Recycle used roofing materials

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There comes a time when we’ve all got to replace our roof, but rather than throw the old stuff into landfills, why not find a way to reuse or recycle it? It may become mulch for your garden, new roads for you to drive on, or maybe even reborn as new recycled shingles.

How to reuse or recycle used roofing materials

Recycling shingles requires many steps, but the end result is less landfill waste and fewer resource requirements. Want to find out how reusing or recycling your used shingles will help the environment? Try out this Building Materials Reuse Calculator, which gives you a read on 10 key areas of environmental impact of construction debris.

Then, get to work looking for a way to reuse or recycle your used roofing materials. Start with this great shingle recycling resource or consider these options:

  1. Donate to a worthy cause: If your old shingles are still in good shape, consider donating them to a charity like Habitat for Humanity ReStores. You could also hook up with ReUse People, a nonprofit organization working to reduce solid waste from building and construction. The outfit sends donated materials to low-income families, individuals, and businesses in Mexico.
  2. A new roof for your shingles: A second possibility for functional shingles is finding a new home for them on someone else’s roof. Try using a service like Salvo, craigslist, or Freecycle to offer your intact roofing materials to someone who’ll pick them up and take them away.
  3. Recycle it: Most shingle types can be recycled in one way or another, including clay, slate, aluminum, steel, asphalt, cedar shakes, and even some composite options. Use these resources for sourcing a recycler in your area:
  4. When all else fails: If you’ve tried all of the suggestions above without success, get in contact with the following organizations in your community to see if they know how to divert used shingles from the landfill:
    • Find a building materials reuse company by using this reuse directory or this state-specific exchange directory.
    • Call your county solid waste department, local scrap metal yard, state environmental agency, or local builder’s association.
    • Contact your local garden center to see if they’ll turn your wood shingles into garden mulch by chopping them into smaller bits.

Reusing your recycling your used shingles helps you go green because…

  • It reduces the quantity of usable materials sent to landfills.
  • The recycling industry helps cut the amount of new, virgin resources taken from the earth each year.

Asphalt shingles, which are made of fiberglass, asphalt cement, ceramic-coated natural rock, and mineral filler, make up two-thirds of the US residential roofing market. Asphalt shingle waste from installation scraps and re-roofing projects makes up 8 percent of the total building-related waste stream.[1] Between 9 and 11 million tons of asphalt roofing waste are sent to US landfills every year, costing close to $400 million in disposal fees.[2][3][4]

Asphalt shingles can be ground up and then turned into asphalt pavement, patch material for potholes, sidewalks, ramps, and bridges, new roofing, or even fuel oil.[5] The largest potential market for recycled asphalt shingles are highway departments.[6] Using just 5 percent shingle byproduct for road building saves money[7] and conserves resources without compromising on quality.[8] As the price of petroleum rises, so does the cost of virgin asphalt, making recycling options very attractive.[9]

Concrete shingles can be crushed into stone and metal can be melted down, and reformed into new products. Used wood roofing materials are re-milled, chipped, or ground up to create particleboard, boiler fuel, new flooring, mulch, or animal bedding.[10]

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