This time on the Sunrise Asphalt blog, we wanted to go back into our archives and revisit a subject we’ve talked about before. A few years back we discussed some uses for recycled asphalt but it could use some more discussion, or a resurfacing if you’ll allow us a bit of paving pun!
Early this month in our 6 More FAQs About Asphalt piece, we answered a question related to buying recycled asphalt and that had us thinking! So without any more preamble let’s look at the uses of recycled asphalt!
Before we get into the different uses for recycled asphalt, let’s quickly go over how the recycling process works.
First, the asphalt is removed from the road or lot where it is installed. The asphalt is broken up into large chunks using jackhammers, pickaxes, or other tools. These chunks are then taken to a nearby plant that will further break down the larger asphalt pieces into smaller aggregate. The aggregate is then screened so that the aggregate is the correct size for use. This reclaimed aggregate is then blended back into the binding materials, making it usable, pave-able asphalt! Not all aggregate goes back into the recycled asphalt, sometimes it’s left to be used for another purpose.
What Recycled Asphalt is Used For
Recycled asphalt is typically used for two purposes: pavement and asphalt shingles.
Recycled Asphalt Pavement
The most common and frequent use of recycled asphalt is in new paving jobs! This is because asphalt is so easily recycled it just makes sense for it to get reused for paving roadways that require a lot of the material and with over 90% of all roads in the United States being made of asphalt there is plenty of the material out there aging into use. Once a road gets so worn or deteriorated that repair isn’t an option that old pavement gets taken into the plant to start a second life as a new road elsewhere.
Recycled Asphalt Shingles
Did you know roof shingles are made of the same materials as roads? That’s right, for asphalt that doesn’t find it’s way into a new stretch of road, one of the more common uses is to be turned into roof shingles for roof manufactures. They take the asphalt, tar, and aggregate and use them to roof homes. It makes sense after all, both are designed to be durable and weatherproof and that’s the oldest use of asphalt there is!
Why Recycle Asphalt
So, asphalt can be recycled and it has a few common uses for it, but is it worth doing? Absolutely!
Recycling Asphalt is…
Seeing as there are so many roadways out there covered in asphalt, to reuse the material on its last legs rather than brewing up a fresh batch cuts down on the energy being consumed in the making of it. As well, asphalt is unfortunately not biodegradable and any material that gets dumped will be doing so forever.
When it comes to paving projects, using recycled asphalt is cheaper than using virgin asphalt. Asphalt is made up largely of oil and with those prices fluctuating the difference between recycled and new asphalt can be staggering.
Now, of course, there can be a downside to using recycled asphalt and that’s mostly the look. Recycled asphalt doesn’t always have that dark, dark black coloring that fresh, virgin asphalt does. Recycled asphalt has been exposed to the sun for potentially years already, fading to that familiar dark grey most roads feature.
Asphalt is one of the most recycled materials on the planet and at Sunrise Asphalt we are proud to continue to pave, recycle, and repave with it wherever we can and when it fits the job. Do you need a new driveway installed or a parking lot repaved?