Recycle your roof

August 29, 2013
 Turning roofs into roads

When you decide to have your roof replaced, the roofing company will of course start by tearing off your current roof. If you’re like most people, your roof will be made of asphalt shingles. What you may not know is what becomes of those shingles after the roofing company drives off with them. Most likely they will be taken to a recycling center where they can be broken down and reused for a number of other purposes. One industry that is really making the most of recycled asphalt shingles is the road industry.

Recycled roadways

Thanks to a 1.12 million dollar grant from the Texas Department of Transportation, Stefan Romanoschi, a civil engineering professor at the University of Texas at Arlington was able to begin construction on a pavement testing machine. When completed, it will be the first pavement testing device in Texas. The device works by having a 60,000 pound machine mounted on wheels moving back and forth across a roadway test strip. The machine is designed to simulate the stress a real road would experience with cars and trucks constantly driving on them. Romanoschi’s machine is helpful because it allows engineers to test a variety of asphalt mixtures without spending millions to experiment by building actual roads.

Researchers are testing a number of recycled products in the hopes of coming up with an asphalt mixture that contains a greater percentage of recycled asphalt that can still stand up to the stresses a road has to handle every day. One of the materials to be tested is recycled asphalt shingles. This material especially is very exciting to engineers because the sheer amount of it that is recycled each year.

An advantage for tax payers

By repurposing asphalt shingles and other asphalt products and turning them into roads, the Department of Transportation will be able to save millions of tax payers’ dollars. So for homeowners who aren’t looking forward to forking over the cash to replace their roof, they can at least take comfort in the fact that their old roof will still have a purpose, and one that will even save them some money in taxes. As for the asphalt shingles, they’re not so lucky. After a lifetime of exposure to the elements, they end up as part of a roadway where they will constantly be run over.

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