Recycling Mystery: Shingles


Photo: Flickr/DolfinDans

When it comes to recycling at home, you might immediately think about your plastic bottles and glass jars, but what about your roof shingles?

Each year there are about 10 million tons of shingles torn off roofs in the U.S., and all of it can be recycled. Some of the material is secondarily used in asphalt to pave roads. In fact, one normal-sized roof recycled into road mix makes about 200 feet of a two-lane highway.

“Shingles have such a similar makeup to road pavement and can be used in paving mix, there’s no reason to send them to the landfill,” says Barry Hornbacher, Owens Corning Shingle Recycling Program Leader.

Owens Corning Roofing is not only one of the foremost shingle producers, but it’s also at the vanguard of recycling them.

The company began its Shingle Recycling Program in alliance with Heritage Environmental Services in 2009. Since then, the program has recycled more than 80,000 tons of asphalt shingles. This is like saving 80,000 barrels of oil, which could drive an average car around the world almost 3,000 times.

“We started the program because ultimately, roofing contractors wanted a solution that was cost-effective, meaning it was cheaper to recycle the shingles than put them in a landfill, sustainable and could be used as a way to differentiate themselves to homeowners,” says Hornbacher.

The company found that about half of all homeowners put a high value on using contractors that recycle responsibly, so by taking part in the shingle recycling program, contractors can show consumers their commitment to recycling and the environment.

Through the program, homeowners can find Owens Corning Preferred Contractors that have taken the Owens Corning Roofing Shingle Recycling Pledge, committing to recycle torn-off shingles.

“Shingle recycling is part of a sustainable solution to the end-of-life of the products that we make,” Hornbacher says.

If you’re in the market for a new roof, there are a number of new eco-friendly options available to you by Owens Corning Roofing, like cool roof technology that reduces the heat island effect or impact-resistant and high-wind rated shingles that will last longer so you don’t have to replace them as often. “Greening our products is a major focus,” Hornbacher says.

As your old roof is removed, if you’ve chosen an Owens Corning Preferred Contractor who has taken the Shingle Recycling Pledge, the shingles and other debris will be contained in a box, truck or trailer, which is shipped to a recycler. The shingles are separated from other debris and cleaned. They are ground and magnets are used to remove any nails or other metal items. Finally, the shingles are taken to a hot mix asphalt plant where they are incorporated at roughly a five percent level into the mix that will be used in pavement.

It sounds complicated but, really, it’s not. All you need to know is, “There are contractors out there that are committed to recycling,” says Hornbacher. Choose the right contractor and your job is done.

To help educate consumers about why shingle recycling matters and how they can make smart decisions in their roof repairs and replacements, Owens Corning and Earth911 are teaming up. Plus, you could win a 30 percent discount off your home roof repair materials by participating:

  • Facebook Quiz: Smart Savings – Take a quiz to test your knowledge regarding the impact of shingle recycling. The results can be shared via social media and become a fan of shingle recycling in the process. Participants will also be eligible to win a 30 percent ($1,000 value!) discount off of the cost of Owens Corning shingles for a residential roof installation. Take the quiz now!
  • Twitter Chat: What’s the Big Deal about Shingle Recycling? – Join in with the #RecycleShingles hashtag! On Oct, 6 from 8-9 a.m. PST, chat with us on Twitter & simultaneously live at Greenbuild at Owens Corning booth #1182. Featuring experts such as Barry Hornbacher, Owens Corning (@Owens_Corning) Shingle Recycling Program Leader, experts from UL Environment (@ulenvironment), Heritage Environmental (@HeritageEnviro) and others, the chat will bring to light the benefits of shingle recycling and will also offer participants the chance to win up to $1,000 in discounts from Owens Corning. [Editor's Note: This Twitter chat has already finished and only the Facebook quiz is still live]

Read the Official Rules here.

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